The new all-emission-free vessel FUTURE OF THE FJORDS. © Brodrene Aa

Norway again shows the way to go

The Fjords takes delivery of groundbreaking FUTURE OF THE FJORDS

After a comprehensive test program FUTURE OF THE FJORDS has been delivered from Brødrene Aa to the owner and operator The Fjords. The new vessel, a 42m long carbon fibre 400 pax all-electric catamaran, will begin operation in mid-May, making around 700 yearly round trips along the spectacular UNESCO World Heritage listed fjord route between Flåm and Gudvangen. It is the first vessel of its kind to offer completely emission free transport through the beautiful, yet fragile, Western Norwegian landscape.The emission-free vessel will join its sister ship, the VISION OF THE FJORDS, which was inducted into service in 2016. It will cost approximately 14,9 Mio EUR (NOK 144m), which is 60% more than its predecessor. The shipbuilding programme is being funded by The Fjords, while Enova, owned by the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, also sourced 1,84 Mio EUR (NOK 17.8m) to support the construction of the vessel.

Second delivery of the Seasight concept

MS VISION OF THE FJORDS

MS VISION OF THE FJORDS

The newbuild is delivery number two of the Seasight design, succeeding the plug-in hybrid vessel VISION OF THE FJORDS delivered from Hyen in 2016. Although both ships are designed and constructed with the characteristic hulls that mirror the zigzagging mountain paths they sail beside, they are very different once you scratch the surface. FUTURE OF THE FJORDS is the first vessel from Brødrene Aa without a combustion engine propulsion system. The boat is instead powered by two electric motors of 450 kW each, which receives power from a accu-pack of 1800 kWh. This represents about 40 times the capacity of a typical electric car. The installation makes it possible for the vessel to operate at a speed of 16 knots for 30 nautical miles before the accus must be recharged. “To take the Seasight concept one step further and deliver an emission free vessel with 400 passenger capacity is a milestone in the history of our company, and it confirms that we’re entering into a zero-emission future,” says Tor Øyvin Aa, CEO at Brødrene Aa.

A new standard for passenger transport

Owner and operator, The Fjords, also believes that the vessel sets new standards for environmentally responsible passenger transport. “It is our mission to safeguard the vulnerable environment we give access to, while providing the absolute optimal experience for our passengers,” says Rolf Sandvik, CEO of The Fjords. VISION OF THE FJORDS was an important development for us, but we had the ambition to take it one step further and replace the diesel electric propulsion with all-electric – thus eradicating all noise and emissions to air for the entire route. FUTURE OF THE FJORDS does just that, minimising its impact on the environment while maximising the experience of passengers who can now glide silently over the water and come closer to nature than ever before. Taking this delivery is a very proud day for us, and for our progressive owners Fjord1 and Flåm AS. The Future has arrived!”

Propulsion

The catamaran vessel is powered by two electric motors driving Servogear Ecoflow propellers through two Servogear HD220H gearboxes. Each electric motor is able to generate a power output of 450kW at 1.180rpm. The Servogear controllable-pitch propeller system offers an optimal combination of manoeuvrability, speed and bollard pull. The compact propeller have a diameter of 1,475mm, while the diameter of the propeller shaft is approximately 100mm. The propulsion system reduces noise and vibrations, NOx and CO2 emissions, while improving fuel efficiency. The feathering position capabilities of the system further minimise resistance and speed loss. The motors are controlled by the eSEAmatic Blue energy management system supplied by Westcon Power & Automation. Westcon is also responsible for delivering the e-SEA® Drive power conversion and manouevring control systems, batteries, an integrated automation solution, and main switchboards for the vessel. The advanced charging station is capable of charging the accus with approximately 800 kWh of power during the 20min docking period. The propulsion system enables the vessel to sail at a cruise speed of 16kt.

New system for fast charging and bunkering

Power-Dock is located in the water.

The 40m long, 5m wide floating glass fibre Power-Dock is located in the water at Gudvangen, housing a 2,4 MWh battery pack. © Brodrene Aa

In another first, Brodrene Aa has, in close cooperation with The Fjords, developed a unique charging solution called the PowerDock. The 40m long, 5m wide floating glass fibre dock is located in the water at Gudvangen, housing a 2,4 MWh battery pack. This charges steadily throughout the day via connection to the local grid network, which does not have the capacity to charge the FUTURE OF THE FJORDS directly. The innovative solution allows the vessel to stably, efficiently and cost effectively “refill” in just 20 minutes. What’s more, the dock also stores consumables, fuel for sister vessels, and allows black water to be offloaded for treatment on land. This makes FUTURE OF THE FJORDS the only passenger vessel not to discharge sewage directly in the fjords. “We can’t wait to welcome our fist passengers on-board for the trip of a lifetime,” Sandvik concludes. Sandvik and Aa both now wish that FUTURE OF THE FJORDS can become a benchmark for environmentally responsible vessel operators worldwide, ushering in a new breed of clean, green and spectacular passenger transport.

Facts

FUTURE OF THE FJORDS
Length: 42 m
Wirdth: 15m
Materials: Carbon fibre sandwich
Seats: 400
Class: DNV GL, light craft
El-Motor: 2 x 450 kW
Propeller: CPP Propeller
Accu-pack: 1.800 kWh