The 2020s will be an important decade for lowering shipping emissions, according to industry leaders.

Experts reveal what's next for clean shipping

What's on the horizon for the zero-emissions shipping industry? Industry leaders revealed their predictions during our recent webinar.

We arranged this webinar to give an insight into western Norway’s innovative shipping sector. This sector is leading in the development of maritime batteries, hydrogen fuel cells and other clean shipping technologies.

The webinar included talks from Geir Odland from NCE Maritime CleanTech, Geir Bjørkeli from Corvus Energy, and Ivan Østvik from Norled, who all gave their views about what the maritime industry will look like in future.

You can go back and watch the webinar below:

An important decade

Geir Odland, Director of Business Development at NCE Maritime CleanTech, said that 2020 marked the start of an “extremely important decade” for global shipping.

The sector was under growing pressure to cut emissions, and there was no “silver bullet” that would work for all occasions and all ship types. Instead, the solution lay in a range of different technologies including batteries, hydrogen and ammonia fuel cells.

He gave examples of three projects that the cluster is working on – the TrAM project, Flagships, and ShipFC – that are all based on different renewable fuels.

Odland also said that collaboration will be key, if the world is going to reach its climate targets. “We are all sitting in the same boat, which means there is only one way to solve our challenges. That is through co-operation on all levels – between continents, countries, organizations and people.”

NCE Maritime CleanTech is the business cluster representing the clean shipping industry in western Norway. It has around 120 members including shipowners, technology providers, energy companies and the public sector, all working towards the goal of achieving zero-emissions shipping.

“Bergen is the place to be”

The next speaker, Geir Bjørkeli, explained that his company Corvus Energy was the world’s leading supplier of safe, innovative and reliable energy storage solutions for the maritime industry.

Bjørkeli added that there had been enormous advances in battery technology over recent years. This meant that it was already possible to build a range of battery-driven vessels including passenger ferries, sightseeing vessels and harbour tugs. In the near future, he predicted that the industry would also see fully-electric fast ferries, tankers and RoPax vessels. 

For shipowners, the drivers for moving over to battery-powered vessels included lower costs, rapid improvements in battery technology, and pressure from governments and consumers.

Corvus Energy made the decision to relocate its headquarters from Canada to Bergen in 2019, and Bjørkeli noted that this felt like a natural choice for the company. 

“Bergen is the maritime capital of Norway. For us to be a member of that maritime cluster, where we can work closely with NCE Maritime CleanTech, Norled, and other players, is very important for us.”

“In terms of developing our applications and working with shipowners, Bergen is the place to be.”

Norled is building the world’s first hydrogen-driven ferry, MS Hydra, which will begin operating in Rogaland county in 2021. Photo © Norled.

Hydrogen – opportunities and challenges

Lastly, Ivan Østvik, Project Manager for hydrogen-driven vessels at Norled, presented how his own company was making progress with zero-emissions shipping.

Norled made headlines in 2015 when it launched the first fully-electric ferry in the world, Ampere. Østvik predicted that there would be around 75 battery-driven passenger ferries operating in Norway by 2022. 

He mentioned that the company was also building the world’s first passenger ferry to run on liquid hydrogen. The MS Hydra would go into service in the Hjelmeland area of Rogaland county from September 2021.

The Norwegian shipping industry was interested in hydrogen fuel cells in other ship types such as fast ferries. However, Østvik stated that Norway would need to improve its hydrogen supply chain significantly in order to make this possible.

Norled is currently involved in a project to build a liquid hydrogen production facility at Mongstad in Greater Bergen, which will produce clean fuel for ships along Norway's coastline when it begins operating in 2024.


Find out more about Greater Bergen’s maritime cleantech industry


Is your company interested in joining the hydrogen supply chain in the Bergen region? If so, you could receive crucial support from Invest in Bergen.

Our organization can provide information, introductions to useful contacts, and we can help you to find the ideal business location in Greater Bergen. If you’re interested in these services, simply get in touch with us today.