Swedish company Gotlandsbolaget has unveiled the Gotland Hydrocat concept vessel, said to be the world’s first large-scale, high-speed catamaran with fossil-free hydrogen propulsion. Slated to enter service in 2030, the high-speed vessel will operate between Gotland and the Swedish mainland, reducing crossing times to under three hours.
The vessel is the second vessel in Gotlandsbolaget’s Horizon series of high-speed passenger and cargo vessels, launched as a concept model in 2021 with the Gotland Horizon. Both Gotland Hydrocat and Gotland Horizon are being developed to minimize emissions from shipping. The two ship models will be able to offer even faster, more flexible and more sustainable trips to and from Gotland.
“We don’t think Gotland should have to choose between crossing time and climate benefits. That is why we are now developing the next generation of ships – the Horizon series – which, through new technology, will enable an even better service and capacity while reducing emissions significantly,” said Håkan Johansson, CEO of Gotlandsbolaget.
Marcus Risberg, CEO of Destination Gotland, said, “It feels very good that we now have two concept ships for our future fleet that bring Gotland even closer to the mainland while at the same time we can drastically reduce our emissions.”
Gotlandsbolaget said its goal is for Gotland traffic to be climate-neutral by 2045, noting that one of the most important initiatives to achieve the goal of a climate-neutral Gotland traffic – Destination Zero – is the development of the next generation of ships.
The ships are designed to be powered by fossil-free hydrogen whose primary emission is water vapor. However, both ships will feature multifuel propulsion solutions, meaning that with a relatively simple adaptation, the ships can be powered by other fossil-free fuels. Gotlandsbolaget said work to develop all the necessary technology is ongoing and the ambition is that the Gotland Hydrocat can be ordered no later than 2025 to be put into service no later than 2030. The model and design for the Gotland Hydrocat has been developed by Gotlandsbolaget in collaboration with Australia-based shipbuilding group Austal.