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Planning the world's largest plug-in ferry

Learn how "Color Hybrid" brings us closer to the vision of emission free shipping

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‘Color Hybrid’ will have full battery operation in and out of the fjord to and from Sandefjord. “An important milestone for Norwegian shipping,” DNV GL believes.

“This brings us closer to the vision of emission-free shipping,” says Terje Arntsen, civil engineer with marine engineering specialization in DNV GL. 

“That the ferry is a hybrid means that it has both conventional diesel engines and battery operation. A ship the size of ‘Color Hybrid’ now coming into operation marks an important milestone for Norwegian shipping,” says Arntsen. 

The ship is scheduled for service on the Sandefjord–Strømstad stretch from the summer season in 2020. It will have a capacity of 2,000 passengers and 500 cars and will be 160 metres long.

Doubling the capacity

The pioneering ferry will almost double the capacity of M/S ‘Bohus’, the ship scheduled to be replaced. 

“The ferry will be a plug-in hybrid. The battery is charged via a power cable with environmentally friendly power from its own onshore power plant, or aboard from the ship's axle generators,” explains Arntsen. 

He works as a surveyor in DNV GL, making inspections and ensuring that the ferry is suitable for further shipping. 

“I do not think the maintenance of the ferry will be different from traditional ferries. Several electrically powered ships have generating sets today. The practical difference is that a large battery compartment is installed in addition to the usual engine room. There are high demands to fire and other safety, but no more than in a normal engine room,” Arntsen points out.

Scoring environmental points in Sandefjord

The marine engineer says that Sandefjord municipality recently announced a competition for the most attractive departure times at the terminal in the cities. The one who had the most environmentally friendly offer would win. 

“Because the ferry will be battery powered when arriving at Sandefjord, it will not cause any local emissions.”

Taking time to phase out diesel

“Norway has good reason to be a proud leader when it comes to developments in zero emissions and hybrid ferries,” Arntsen argues. 

DNV GL is the first classification company to set up a regulatory framework for battery operation on board large hybrid ferries. 

“’Color Hybrid’ shows that Norway is far ahead regarding environmental requirements to the shipping industry. We cannot make special requirements to the industry, but we can make sure that our customers comply with the rules,” Arntsen emphasizes. 

He believes the future will bring many more battery-powered ferries, but it will take time before diesel is phased out completely in the shipping industry. 

“We need to get a volume before we can see the effects of hybrid ferries,” Arntsen points out. 

He compares the hybrid ferry with today’s electric cars. 

“They have proven to be able to drive much longer than was assumed just a few years ago,” he concludes.

“Ambition to be a leader in European shipping”

The classification company DNV GL has assisted Color Line in planning their new hybrid ferry, which is the largest such ferry in the world. The ship will sail between Sandefjord and Strømstad. 

“Our ambition is to be a leader in European short-sea shipping, and ‘Color Hybrid’ is proof of this,” says Trond Kleivdal, CEO of Color Line. 

The ship will be built by Ulstein Shipyard in Sunnmøre. 

“It is pleasing that the Norwegian shipbuilding industry has proved internationally competitive and that we can contribute to the development of Norwegian maritime industry,” says Kleivdal.

Worker on boat
“A ship the size of ‘Color Hybrid’ now coming into operation marks an important milestone for Norwegian shipping,” says Terje Arntsen in DNV GL.