Havyard Design & Solutions (HDS)

A Norwegian company has come up with a zero-emission design for its sightseeing vessels

Like cargo ships, sightseeing vessels, better known as cruise ships, also have their own sustainability drive share. Because emissions from shipping traffic is a big challenge both in bigger cities and in fjords, Norwegian shipping company Havyard introduced a remarkable design for a zero-emission sightseeing vessel, which may solve the growing challenge in the future.

Havyard Design & Solutions (HDS) constitutes an expert environment for smart ship design and energy-efficient ships. Since 2005, the company has researched and tested new designs and solutions for a wide variety of vessels. Last year, Havyard collaborated with Sintef to investigate new solutions for a more environmentally friendly shipping industry—an important project that builds on a development process Havyard has been engaged in for the past decade and research conducted in cooperation with Sintef at the R&D center SFI Smart Maritime.

Tools to measure energy consumption by calculating the realistic operational profile and environmental impact are already available. It allows the company to choose optimal solutions for the hull, equipment, and energy sources. This methodical approach, which can be applied to all types of vessels, also enables Havyard to calculate and make commitments regarding realistic emission values in tenders for ferries, the Kystruten coastal route, and other types of vessels.

As a pioneer in the design and construction of zero-emission ferries, Havyard draws upon this experience in its new city and fjord sightseeing concept. These ships are developed based on knowledge about battery-operation and charging. They can meet big cruise ships outside of the World Heritage areas and the cities and bring them to the fjords’ innermost parts and into the city centers. The vessel will be 70 meters long, have a capacity of up to 800 passengers, run at up to 11 knots, and offer a quiet, comfortable travel experience that matches the scenery.

In addition to the no-emissions aspect, the design focuses on the passenger experience with spacious areas inside and out, oversized windows that allow the passengers to take in as much of the view and fresh air as possible, and, finally, a universal design allowing wheelchair users to move freely around the ship.

Designer Stig Magne Espeseth has planned and developed the new zero-emission sightseeing vessel. Excited to base this concept on his experience of designing ferries, he explained, “Some of the most important criteria when designing vessels are safety, low energy consumption, cost efficiency, and functionality, but for us as designers, aesthetics, and the design process are also important. In our new concept, there are a few new elements that we need to take into account. One example is that there will be many people in a limited area, which means that there is a need for lots of space. How, then, can we give everyone a front-row view so that they can see as much as possible and at the same time ensure their safety and comfort both indoors and out? Our new design proposes a good solution to this.”

The passengers will be transferred on a floating hub installed at the fjords’ mouth and outside of the cities where the cruise ships call. These hubs will also serve as charging stations for the mini cruise vessels. A potentially limited capacity of the grid can be overcome by connecting battery packs to the grid. This way, the load on the grid will be constant, and at the same time, the mini-cruise vessels will have enough charging voltage. If the mini-cruise ships are charged during the night, they can use power from shore at the hub during their stay in the daytime, thereby contributing to further emission reductions.

“With this concept, we want to demonstrate that it is possible to create new solutions to complex challenges. Zero emissions and sustainable transport will be an integrated part of the experience when passengers are going into vulnerable areas,” Espeseth said.

A step closer to hydrogen fuel cells

Meanwhile, Havyard is taking the next step towards a hydrogen system pilot for large ships. The company is entering the approval phase and has signed agreements with hydrogen tanks and fuel cell providers. If large vessels are to sail zero-emission at high speed over long distances, battery solutions do not contain enough energy. Fuel cells running on hydrogen is one such solution, and the Havyard Group, with Havyard Design & Solutions and Norwegian Electric Systems, is now conducting pioneering work on the development of a system that will become the biggest of its kind for ships.

The first phase of Havyard Group’s groundbreaking work is completed, and the company is now entering into the approval stage for the hydrogen system together with Linde Engineering (LE) as tank supplier and PowerCell Sweden AB as a supplier of fuel cells. The project manager for the Havyard Group’s FreeCO2ast project, Kristian Osnes, shared that LE is a significant player in the market for designing and manufacturing equipment for cryogenic gases. “We believe they are the right partner for finding solutions that will ensure safe storage and control barriers for cryogenic hydrogen onboard ships. The regulations for these solutions have not yet been developed, and we are pleased to have Linde onboard when entering the approval process, which we expect to be very challenging.”

Chosen to deliver fuel cells was PowerCell. Its core technology for fuel cells is well documented through its cooperation with Bosch for the car industry, and will now also be expected to create the right solutions for the maritime sector. According to Osnes, fuel cells have similarities with the battery technology that NES has already used within several ferry projects. Therefore, he thinks the cooperation will provide high-quality maritime solutions, as they take the zero-emissions goal one step further—from batteries to hydrogen.

The agreement entails that the Havyard companies, together with PowerCell and LE, will design a hydrogen solution and take the first step towards certification. This solution will be offered to Havila Kystruten for retrofitting. The hydrogen system development is part of a PilotE project in which the Havyard companies and the research institutions Sintef and Prototech are working together.

The head of research and development at Havyard Group, Kristian Voksøy Steinsvik, explained that PilotE would be useful for simplifying the application process concerning the range of the Norwegian study. It also includes development-funding instruments, not least in terms of the support, which lessens the risk inherent in spearheading the development. “With PilotE on the team, you can dare to be a first mover at the same time as having a broad focus on developing tools and methods that will benefit both us and the industry, regardless of the type of technical solution we land on,” he said.

Havyard Design and Solutions has sound experience in simulation tools and virtual prototyping of ships. This, combined with Norwegian Electric Systems’ expertise in green technology and integration, will ensure optimal interaction with the other power systems on the boat. (Story and photos courtesy of Havyard Group)