At a time when climate concerns are putting increasing pressure on the cruise industry, Norway’s coastal fleet Hurtigruten is responding with what it bills as a “record-breaking biogas deal.” It seemed bound to grab headlines after Hurtigruten claimed some of its vessels will soon be fueled with liquified biogas (LGB) made from organic waste including dead fish.
Many of today’s cruiseships generate such high carbon emissions and unleash so many tourists that they’re increasingly unwelcome in some Norwegian ports and fjords. Growing numbers of Norwegian coastal cities are also demanding that the cruiseships hook up to electricity from shore instead of burning their heavy bunker fuel for power.
For Hurtigruten, which sails not only along Norway’s scenic coast all year but also in both the sensitive Arctic and Antarctic, the best defense seems to be a new offense. In addition to building some of the world’s first hybrid ships, Hurtigruten has now signed a contract with Trondheim-based Biokraft that runs through 2026 for “near-daily delivery” of what it calls “climate-neutral biogas.” The gas is made largely from the waste of two other large Norwegian industries, fish-farming and forestry, with Biokraft’s biogas plant located near one of forestry firm Norske Skog’s plants at Skogn.
Hurtigruten plans to replace conventional engines on several of its vessels with gas-powered engines and battery packs, converting them into hybrid ships running on natural gas, biogas and electricity. The CEOs of both Hurtigruten and Biokraft didn’t disclose the financial value of the biogas contract, but claimed their deal marks “a major step” towards greener and more sustainable shipping.
There was, at any rate, no lack of dead fish in Norway this week after a natural but deadly algae killed off thousands of tons of salmon trapped within fish-farming enclosures in Troms and Nordland counties. The dead fish was being ground up for both organic use and disposal.