All electric passenger vessel Future of The Fjords scoops top award

The highly innovative Future of the Fjords vessel has been recognised by winning the Ship of the Year 2018 Award
The highly innovative Future of the Fjords vessel has been recognised by winning the Ship of the Year 2018 Award

A revolutionary all electric passenger vessel operating in the Norwegian Fjords has won the Ship of the Year 2018 award at the SMM show.

Future of The Fjords was seen by awards organiser (Norwegian maritime magazine) Skipsrevyen, its readers and expert judging panel as marking a major leap forward in sustainable transport, both on the water and, potentially, on land.

The win represents something of a remarkable double victory. The owner of The Future of the Fjords together with the shipyard Brødrene Aa, has already won the title before back in 2016 with battery hybrid sister ship Vision of The Fjords.

Although both vessels share the same carbon fibre hull, Future of The Fjords was seen by awards organiser (Norwegian maritime magazine) Skipsrevyen, its readers and expert judging panel as marking a major leap forward in sustainable transport, both on the water and, potentially, on land.

“We’re proud to receive this accolade and excited about what it means for ourselves, our stakeholders and the wider transport industry,” said The Fjords CEO Rolf A. Sandvik. “Both Vision and Future were designed to showcase and protect the unique Norwegian UNESCO World Heritage listed landscape they sail through – delivering an optimal passenger experience, whereby visitors can become at one with nature, without impacting upon it.”

“However, while Vision, with its hybrid solution, marked the start of that journey, Future, a true zero emission, silent running vessel, really signals the fulfilment of our dream. We’d like to thank everyone that’s worked with us on this project – including our owners Flåm AS and Fjord1 ASA, key suppliers Westcon, Servogear AS, Aurland Harbour KF, state run low emission solutions supporter Enova, and energy supplier Aurland Energiverk – for making the dream come true.”

Future of The Fjords is the world’s first all-electric carbon fibre vessel, but this wasn’t the only deciding factor in elevating the vessel above fellow award nominees Antarctic Endurance, a krill harvesting ship owned by Aker Biomarine, and Ponant’s expedition cruise ship Le Lapérouse.

The revolutionary ‘power dock’ charging solution was also key to the win, as Sandvik explained:
“Due to the limited local grid capability in our port of Gudvangen we could only access a charging capacity of 1.2MWh, just half of what the vessel requires,” he notes.

“So, we, together with Brødrene Aa, in collaboration with our project partners, had to think a little differently to achieve our aims. Together we came up with the idea of a floating 2.4MWh battery bank contained in a 40m long glass fibre composite body. This could simply and slowly top up capacity from the grid through the day without the need for disruptive and expensive power surges.

“Then we started to think about how else we could utilise the structure. Could we use it to take on black water from the vessels too, so we didn’t have to dump sewage directly into the fjords like other passenger vessels? In this way, we could make Future truly zero emissions, both to air and to water. And it didn’t stop there. We ended up fitting the dock with a 40m3 diesel tank for Vision, alongside storage room for on-board consumables, allowing the vessels to maximise passenger capacity. It’s a one of a kind piece of floating infrastructure, with potential far beyond this project.”

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