Gotlandsbolaget partners with Austal to build electric passenger ferry
Passenger ferry operator Gotlandsbolaget has partnered with Australian shipbuilder Austal to construct a high-speed catamaran that will run exclusively on green fuels.
The water vessel, Gotland Horizon X, uses a multi-fuel gas turbine plant powered by hydrogen and other sustainable fuel alternatives. The 426-foot-long vessel can accommodate 1,650 passengers and 450 passenger cars.
The Horizon X can travel at 35 knots, allowing passengers to travel between Gotland and mainland Sweden in under three hours.
Gotlandsbolaget’s Gotland Tech Development senior partner and project owner Christer Bruzelius said the ship’s design reflected the needs of Gotland Island and the passengers. With the vessel, people can travel from and to Gotland, a popular tourist destination, quickly and affordably without negatively affecting the environment.
Bruzelius explained that the development team had minimised the vessel’s weight and streamlined operations to reduce Horizon X’s energy requirements and boost its efficiency.
“Austal is a leader in the development of large catamarans and they are an excellent partner to take Horizon X forward,” Bruzelius said.
Gotlandsbolaget plans to place a construction order for the Horizon X by 2025. The company expects the Horizon X or its preceding design, Horizon, to begin service by 2030. Horizon is a larger passenger ferry that allows up to 1,900 passengers and 600 cars.
Currently, Gotlandsbolaget operates three Ro-Pax vessels to serve its passengers. Two of those ferries are hybrid, while the other one is conventional. The operator also reported that it had sold an HSC Gotlandia II, a conventional passenger ferry, as a part of its modernisation effort.
Gotlandsbolaget’s recent partnership is part of its Horizon initiative launched in 2021. The Horizon series is the company’s effort to achieve its goal of making Gotland’s traffic climate neutral by 2045.
The initiative’s key element is developing hydrogen-powered vessels that will only emit water vapours in their operations. CEO Håkan Johansson said the recent partnership was an “important step” in achieving the company’s climate target.
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