Starting in 2026, Torghatten will operate two state-of-the-art hydrogen ferries and two biofuel ferries in Lofoten, Norway. Developed in close collaboration with industry partners, the Lofoten Hydrogen Ferries will mark a new era for green fuels and sustainable maritime transport.

The pioneering initiative was recently featured in Maritime CleanTech’s ProjectSpotlight webinar series, ably presented by Torghatten CTO Jan-Egil Wagnild. Did you miss the webinar? Watch the recording below!

Hydrogen Ferries: Cutting-Edge Technology for a Greener Future

Torghatten’s hydrogen ferries are poised to become a game-changer in maritime transport. The vessels, designed for the Bodø-Værøy-Røst-Moskenes route, will use hydrogen as their primary fuel, marking a significant step towards zero-emission travel. Each ferry is equipped with Proton-Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cells, which convert hydrogen into electricity, emitting only water vapor and heat as byproducts.

Vessel illustration by Torghatten

The environmental benefits of replacing traditional diesel engines with hydrogen fuel cells are substantial. Torghatten aims to cut CO2 emissions by approximately 26,500 tonnes annually. This reduction is equivalent to the emissions from around 13,000 diesel cars, positively impacting local air quality and mitigating climate change. The ferries’ design also includes hybrid propulsion systems combining hydrogen-electric and diesel-electric modes, further enhancing energy efficiency and operational flexibility.

The Bodø-Værøy-Røst-Moskenes route, situated in the rugged northern regions of Norway, presents unique challenges due to its harsh weather conditions and rough seas. The new vessels are therefore meticulously designed to withstand rough conditions, ensuring reliable and safe operations throughout the year.

Economic and Community Benefits from Building a Hydrogen Economy

The ripple effects of the Lofoten Hydrogen Ferries project extend beyond environmental benefits. The initiative will bolster the local economy by creating jobs and establishing a robust hydrogen value chain. GreenH, a key partner in the project, will operate a hydrogen production facility in Bodø, capable of producing 6–10 tonnes of hydrogen per day. This facility not only supports the ferry operations but also creates approximately 700–800 jobs, with half of these jobs based in the Bodø and Salten regions.

As an additional environmental plus, the facility will supply oxygen to the aquaculture industry and heat to the district heating network, promoting green industrial synergies. Establishing a local hydrogen supply chain reduces dependency on fossil fuels, enhances energy security, and paves the way for further green energy projects in the region.

Photo: Torghatten

Bunkering for the ferries will be conducted locally at the Bodø production plant, minimizing energy loss and reducing emissions associated with fuel transportation. This local bunkering process not only increases operational efficiency but also reinforces the environmental benefits by ensuring the hydrogen is used as close to its production site as possible.

Collaboration as a Key to Success

The success of this ambitious project will largely depend on effective collaboration among various stakeholders, and several Maritime CleanTech partners are involved. Torghatten has collaborated with numerous industry leaders to bring the vessels to life. Norwegian Ship Design played a crucial role in designing the vessels, while Seam is responsible for the electric system integration, encompassing control systems, propulsion lines, and fuel cells supplied by PowerCell Group.

Moreover, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (Statens vegvesen) has been instrumental in initiating the project. Their focus on sustainability and the mandate for hydrogen in the tender process ensured that the ferry design met stringent environmental standards.

This collaborative approach extends to the shipbuilding phase, with Myklebust Shipyard constructing the vessels and Lloyds Register providing certification and risk assessments through the Approval In Principle (AIP) process.

The ambitious project is led by Torghatten, and made possible by collaboration between the different partners. Photo: Torghatten

The Lofoten Hydrogen Ferries are scheduled to begin operations in 2026, marking a significant milestone for alternative fuels and green maritime transport. This will also secure the start of a much-needed supply chain for hydrogen in Norway.

You can see the full ProjectSpotlight and learn more about the project in the recording below (jump to 07:15):