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Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Pining for cleaner air in the Norwegian fjords


It might be slow, but the romance of commuting by ferry is not lost on Trond Bonesmo as he boards MF Norangsfjord for the crossing from Magerholm to Sykkylven.
"It's a welcome break, and the view isn't too bad either," he says as he looks across the sea towards the Sunnmoere Alps' snow-covered peaks.
"A bridge across the fjord would obviously make the crossing faster, but Storfjorden is two or three kilometres wide and 700 metres deep, which makes it very expensive to build one," says Mr Bonesmo, IT and operations manager for a consumer goods company.
Many Norwegian fjords present similar difficulties to bridge builders, so instead the country's coastal population relies on ferries that link their often remote communities.
Each year, some 20 million cars, vans and trucks cross the country's many fjords on roughly 130 ferry routes.
Most of Norway's ferries run on diesel, spewing out noxious fumes and CO2.
But this is about to change.
Following two years of trials of the world's first electric car ferry, named Ampere, ferry operators are busy making the transition from diesel to comply with new government requirements for all new ferry licensees to deliver zero- or low-emission alternatives.
"We continue the work with low-emission ferries because we believe it will benefit the climate, Norwegian industry and Norwegian jobs," Prime Minister Erna Solberg said in a speech in April 2016, in which she vowed to help fund required quayside infrastructure.
Ferry company Fjord1, which operates the MF Norangsfjord, has ordered three fully electric ferries that are scheduled to enter active service on some of its routes in January 2018.
Multi Maritime, which designed the ferries, welcomes the growth in demand.
"Several years of investment in sustainable technologies have resulted in us having more than 10 fully electric and plug-in hybrid ferries under construction by several yards," says Gjermund Johannessen, managing director.
Source By BBC.COM
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