Rogaland County Municipality and NCE Maritime CleanTech has been awarded 11.7 Million Euros to develop an all-electric high-speed passenger vessel to operate between Stavanger and Hommersåk on the west coast of Norway. This is one of the largest amounts to have been awarded to a single project in the EU’s Horizon2020 research program, and the project will revolutionize Norwegian production of zero emission vessels. The project will also conduct two studies for the same type of vessel in London and the inland waterways of Belgium.

Initiator of the project is industry cluster NCE Maritime CleanTech. Rogaland County Municipality is a partner in the cluster, and will, as the owner of the vessel connection and a purchaser of transport services, be the project coordinator. The project will result in a new fully-electric high-speed vessel with zero emissions. In addition, new manufacturing methods will contribute to 25 per cent lower production costs and 70 per cent lower engineering costs. Rogaland County Municipality’s application beat more than 100 other applicants in the competition.

“I’m proud that we receive financial support from the EU. It is an important and major recognition of our collaboration with the industry cluster and vessel operator Kolumbus to develop a zero emission high-speed vessel. This means that Rogaland, Western Norway and Norway, with the county municipality at the forefront, can become a world leader in the development of this type of technology. This is a major contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which is a focus area for the county municipality as well,” says chairman of the county council Solveig Ege Tengesdal.

The project will also conduct two studies for the same type of vessel in London and Belgium to explore opportunities for similar zero emission vessels on selected routes in Europe. Partners include Thames Clippers, which operates on the Thames River in London.  

Will revolutionize Norwegian shipbuilding
Maritime CleanTech encompasses 75 Norwegian companies from the entire maritime value chain and focuses on developing energy-efficient and environmentally friendly solutions for the maritime industries.

“This is a big day for the cluster and our partners, and an important recognition of our leading position within green and smart solutions for the ocean industrien. The project is revolutionary both in terms of zero emission technology and manufacturing methods, and will strengthen the participants’ competitiveness both nationally and internationally. It will also contribute to making electric-powered high-speed vessel competitive in terms of both cost and the environment,” says Hege Økland, General Manager, NCE Maritime CleanTech.

The Rogaland county municipality will contribute with NOK 5 million to a demonstration vessel, and has committed to putting int into service between Stavanger and Hommersåk. The vessel will be operated by Kolumbus and accommodate 150 passengers and 20 bicycles. It will operate at a speed of 23 knots.

A result of good collaboration
The Norwegian players who will contribute to developing the vessel are all members of Maritime CleanTech. Besides Rogaland County Municipality they are Leirvik, Fjellstrand, Servogear, Wärtsilä and Hydro Extrusions Norway. Valide and Kolumbus have also taken part in the project. The vessel will be built by Norwegian shipyard Fjellstrand.

“This is an important project for several reasons. By implementing battery technology the Norwegian ferries are at the forefront of the green shift, and now we are bringing this technology to the high-speed vessel market. Norwegian shipyards are experiencing tough international competition, and by reducing production costs we will become far more competitive,” says Edmund Tolo, Sales Manager, Fjellstrand.

The project is also supported by the Research Council of Norway and Innovation Norway.

“The Research Council is impressed and proud of Rogaland County Municipality and Maritime CleanTech who have succeeded in competing for coveted EU funds. These funds are only distributed to Europe’s finest. Many Norwegian enviorments are fore runners, both in the public and private sector, and we would encourage more to follow Rogaland’s example of collaboration,” says the Research Council’s International Director Kristin Danielsen.

“This is a result of targeted and strategic work over time by a forward leaning industry cluster. Maritime CleanTech saw the opportunities in Horizon2020 at an early stage, and really deserves to succeed with its project, says Mona Skaret, Director Private and Public Innovation, Innovation Norway.

The following are also taking part in the project: Wärtsilä Holland (Netherlands), MBNA Thames Clippers (UK), University of Strathclyde (UK), Fraunhofer IEM (Germany), HSVA (Germany) and Waterwegen & Zeekanal NV (Belgium).

The project will commence in the spring when the contract with the European Commission has been signed and it has a duration of four years. The value of the allocation is 11,741,643 Euros, and work on the contract has started.