Norwegian shipping company Norled and shipyard Westcon have reached an agreement for the construction of two new environmentally friendly ferries.

One ferry will run on hydrogen fuel while the other will be a battery-powered ferry, quite similar to MF Ampere.

With a capacity of 299 passengers and 80 cars, the new ferries will operate on the Hjelmeland-Skipavik-Nesvik route in Ryfylket from early 2021.

Norled technical director Sigvald Breivik said: “We believe that this construction project will contribute to the Norwegian maritime sector as a whole, being at the forefront of hydrogen-powered ferries.”

Financial terms of the shipbuilding contract have not been disclosed.

Norled and the Norwegian Public Roads Administration reached an agreement in January for construction of the world’s first hydrogen-electric ferry.

Norled technical director Sigvald Breivik said: “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.”

“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.”

“In 2022, more than 70 Norwegian ferries will sail on battery and contribute significantly to climate and environmental emissions.”

Breivik also said 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.

The soon-to-be-built Norwegian hydrogen-powered vessel is one of two new ships that are part of the European innovation project Flagships.

The two ferries are likely to be commissioned by March and May 2021.

In October, Norled placed an order with Sembcorp Marine for the design and construction of three identical hybrid plug-in roll-on / roll-off (RoPax) passenger ferries.