The world’s first zero-carbon whale watching
North Sailing, a small whale watching company from the tiny fishing village of Husavík on the edge of the Arctic Circle is braving the waves of innovation to make trips to the dockside gas pump a thing of the past for the world’s marine and yachting industry. On July 12th North Sailing Husavík launches the world’s first zero-carbon emission whale watching cruise aboard Opal, a wooden two-mast schooner equipped with a newly developed hybrid system using electric car technology.
The Opal vessel is powered by electricity from small batteries recharged during the sail by renewable wind energy. Aboard wooden schooners, North Sailing already uses sail power for transport, but generator power to quietly interact with marine mammals and supply electricity to the boats.
The new regenerative power and propulsion system installed in the Opal ship gets all its power from batteries loaded by the propeller during traditional wind-powered sailing.
This form of regenerative power and propulsion has been tried before but without generating power needed to drive the propeller for any worthwhile period. For every hour’s sailing at 9 knots, Opal gets propeller power for one hour at 6 knots.
After the launch on July 12th, the hybrid system technology will be tested, improved, and verified during a number of full scale, real-life sea trials around North Iceland and East Greenland. The remaining ships in the North Sailing fleet will be converted into carbon-free, ship-shape vessels by 2020.
North Sailing Husavík is currently long listed for the ‘Best innovation for carbon reduction’ award via the World Responsible Tourism Award at World Travel Market.