The Urban Water Shuttle is an excellent example on how the cluster’s innovation projects increase the competitiveness of the partners and help them secure new contracts.

Fjordled at its base in Haugesund. Photo: Norled/Tor Arne Aasen, Samferdselsfoto.

A project to develop a zero emission, fast going passenger vessel, was initiated in the cluster in 2014. The development work for the “Urban Water Shuttle” (UWS) has received financial support from Bergen municipality and the PILOT-E scheme.

– Back in 2017 a fully electrical fast-ferry was utopia. With Urban Water Shuttle we wanted to prove for the world that it was possible, and I believe we did, CEO Torleif Stokke of cluster member Servogear says.

The UWS project has given its participants first-hand knowledge about electrical operation of fast-ferries, and this knowledge is now being materialized in a range of other projects.

– We have received five orders for the battery solution developed for UWS, and more orders are on the way. This clearly shows that our participation in NCE Maritime CleanTech and the UWS project has strengthened our competitiveness in the fast ferry market, Lars Ole Valøen CTO at Corvus Energy says.

The first order has already been delivered, to Norled’s “Fjordled” – the world’s first hybrid fast ferry.

– The batteries on board Fjordled is unique with its combination of exceptional energy density and the highest level of security. The UWS was the driving force behind the development of this compact battery system, which is our third generation of maritime batteries, Valøen says.

The hybrid fast-ferry Fjordled at the remote island of Røvær, west of Haugesund. Photo: Tor Arne Aasen, Samferdselsfoto.

Fruitful cluster collaboration

The 89 pax Fjordled will reduce NOx-emissions by 80 % and is an example of NCE Maritime CleanTech partners teaming up on new, green innovation projects. Norled selected another cluster partner, Servogear, as supplier of propulsion system, including gearboxes and propellers, while cluster colleague Brunvoll Mar-El provides the control system

– Fjordled is simply a result of long-term cluster cooperation. The companies have familiarized themselves through innovation projects in the cluster and have become confident in each other in terms of technology and capacity, Lars Valøen at Corvus Energy explains.

More efficient propellers

Servogear was one of the founder companies of Maritime CleanTech in 2011. They joined the cluster because they believed that innovation and co-operation would increase the company’s competitiveness, and to make sure that fast-ferries were high up on the agenda.

– We have grown together with the other partners and NCE Maritime CleanTech. Most importantly they have helped us innovate and establish projects, find funding and identify partners. Furthermore, the technology developed in the cluster’s innovation projects has been important in securing us new orders, he says.

Another recent example on how Servogear has materialized on the UWS project is the fully electric and iconic Future of the Fjords.

– Based on parameters from electrical motors, the propeller series was developed especially to achieve higher efficiency than with conventional diesel engines. The concept onboard Future of The Fjords and the coming predecessor Legacy of The Fjords, was developed for the UWS, Stokke explains.