The shipping company Norled in Stavanger and the Ølen-based shipyard Westcon have signed a contract for the construction of two new ferries, one of which will be the world’s first car ferry that sails on hydrogen and the other will be a battery-powered ferry equivalent to MF Ampere.
“We believe that this construction project will contribute to the Norwegian maritime sector as a whole being at the forefront of hydrogen-powered ferries,” says Technical Director Sigvald Breivik of Norled, who had built the world’s first battery-powered ferry, MF Ampere.
This is a big and important contract for us in Ølen. Getting involved in building what will be a world new thing means that we not only fill up our order book but also help us consolidate our position as a yard with high innovation and technology expertise, says Director of Shipbuilding Endre Matre in Westcon.
The two ferries that Westcon will build for Norled will both operate the national road 13 ferry connection Hjelmeland – Skipavik – Nesvik in the Ryfylket from spring 2021.
Since we signed the contract with the Norwegian Public Roads Administration in January to build and operate a completely new type of zero-emission holiday based on using hydrogen as fuel, the interest and intake has been great from both home and abroad, says Sigvald Breivik, technical director at Norled.
We are therefore very pleased that after thorough assessments we have signed an agreement on the construction of the hydrogen ferry with Westcon in Ølen. The shipyard has solid expertise in environmental technology, and proven that they have good cooperation relations with other key players in this project, Breivik continues.
New maritime icon
The new hydrogen holiday is one of the largest innovation projects that both Westcon and Norled have had. In 2015, Norled launched the world’s first battery-powered car and passenger ferry, MF Ampere.
Ampere has in many ways become an icon of the green revolution of the ferry industry. In 2022, more than 70 Norwegian ferries will sail on battery and contribute significantly to climate and environmental emissions. Our ambition is that the upcoming hydrogen ferry will become a new icon that will put Norway on the map to an even greater extent in maritime zero-emission technology and where the project will demonstrate that hydrogen can be used on energy-intensive connections where battery technology alone is short, says Breivik.
Change Matre in Westcon says that the shipyard and subcontractors will employ about 150 people mostly to build the two ferries that will be ready in March and May 2021. The yard will mostly use Norwegian subcontractors on the ship equipment side, while parts of The hydrogen system will be purchased from Europe.
The ferries will have a capacity of 299 passengers and 80 cars. The advantage of hydrogen as a zero-emission fuel is that it is better suited to supply larger amounts of energy to the ferry propulsion systems, and this feature can be used to increase sailing distance or to have high speed, such as on speed boats. The contract partners agree not to publish the contract value.