Swedish group Gotlandsbolaget and the Australian shipyard Austal have signed a letter of intent to enter into an agreement for the design of a new catamaran ferry, to be known as ‘Gotland Horizon X’, a fast catamaran that will be able to run on hydrogen.
Austal and Gotlandsbolaget will develop the design of a 130m high-speed ro-pax, with a multi-fuel solution designed for fossil-free fuels, which means that it can be powered with, among other things, hydrogen gas.
Håkan Johansson, CEO Gotlandsbolaget said: “This is an important step in our climate journey. We are working on developing the ships of the future, and in 2022 presented the second ship concept in our Horizon series, Gotland Horizon X. It is a fast-moving catamaran that will be able to run on fossil-free fuels, and which we believe will be an excellent complement to the Gotland traffic. She will be used above all during the summer months and will be able to make the trip between Gotland and the mainland in under three hours
Gotland Horizon X will be able to travel at 35 knots, carry 1,650 passengers and have space for 450 passenger cars.
Christer Bruzelius, Gotland Tech Development said: “The ship’s design is based on Gotland’s and our passengers’ needs to be able to travel with a short crossing time and at competitive prices, without negatively impacting the climate or the environment. In order to minimise the energy requirement and obtain a high degree of efficiency, we develop energy-efficient hulls, minimise weight, optimise energy consumers on board and streamlines operations and flows throughout the vessel. Austal is a leader in the development of large catamarans and they are an excellent partner to take Horizon X forward.”
Western Australia company Austal considers the letter of intent to be further proof of the company’s ability to design and build fast ferries with high demands on sustainability.
Austal CEO Paddy Gregg said: “The letter of intent with Gotlandsbolaget confirms that Austal is ready to design and build a 130m high-speed catamaran that can be powered by hydrogen, and which will help us on the journey towards zero emissions. Austal develops hulls that are optimised for different types of fuel and propulsion, including hydrogen and electricity. We offer solutions for shipping companies that need fast-moving ships and look forward to working together with Gotlandsbolaget to produce a new, exciting design with high quality.”
Gotlandsbolaget has previously proposed a larger passenger and freight ship, Gotland Horizon, with room for 1,900 passengers and 600 cars. The plan is for at least one of the ships to be in service by 2030 at the latest.