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Hurtigruten hopes to operate the world’s first electric expeditionary ships in the Arctic and Antarctic.

The line claims the pair of new 530-passenger vessels, to be constructed at Kleven Yards in Norway, will be the world’s first to use hybrid propulsion.

The new hybrid technology will make sailing with electric propulsion for 15-30 minutes a reality, according to the exploration line. The total reduction in fuel consumption is seen as the main gain.

The technology, in combination with the construction of the hull and effective use of electricity on board, will reduce the fuel consumption and CO2-emissions from the ships by 20% - amounting to more than 3,000 metric tons of CO2 per year.

The hybrid solution has been developed by Rolls Royce and Bellona, a non-profit organisation working to meet and fight climate challenges.

The first ship, which is due to enter service in 2018, is being equipped with an auxiliary electric engine.

The second will feature a fully-fledged hybrid engine that can power the entire ship for longer periods of time and distances, into fjords and in environmentally vulnerable areas.

Hurtigruten chief executive, Daniel Skjeldam, said: “The future of shipping is, without a doubt, silent and emission free.

“We will use our new expeditionary ships as groundbreakers for this new technology and show the world that hybrid propulsion on large ships is possible, today.

“To be able to sail using only electrical power is not only a great benefit for the environment, but it will also enhance the impact of experiencing nature for the guests. Picture sailing into a fjord silently without any form of emissions.”

Bellona founder and president, Fredric Hauge, added: “This is an historic day for Norwegian shipping and for Norwegian maritime technology. Battery powered propulsion in ships this size shows that batteries are on board to stay.

“This represents a huge reduction in emissions from shipping, and it is only the

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