A cruise line based in Norway just announced it soon would power some of its ships with dead fish. And, no, it wasn’t joking. 

Tromso, Norway-based Hurtigruten on Monday said it would become the first cruise operator in the world to power vessels using liquified biogas (LBG), a fossil-free, renewable fuel produced from dead fish and other organic waste. 

Billed as an eco-friendly fuel, biogas already is used as fuel in small parts of the transport sector including buses, the company noted. The line’s homeland of Norway and Northern Europe, which have large fishery and forestry sectors, produce a steady volume of the organic waste required to make the fuel, it added. 

Hurtigruten said it planned to run at least six vessels using a combination of biogas, large battery packs and liquefied natural gas (LNG) by 2021. The company currently operates 17 ships with more on order. 

“While competitors are running on cheap, polluting heavy fuel oil, our ships will literally be powered by nature,” Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam said in a statement accompanying the announcement. “Biogas is the greenest fuel in shipping, and (its use in cruise ships) will be a huge advantage for the environment. We would love other cruise companies to follow.”

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Touting itself as the greenest of cruise lines, Hurtigruten also recently became the first cruise operator to ban single-use plastics on its vessels. It’s planning to replace traditional diesel propulsion systems on several ships with power systems that use battery packs and gas engines. 

Skjeldam has said the company’s long-term goal is to operate all of its vessels emissions-free. 

The biogas announcement comes as Hurtigruten prepares to unveil the world’s first battery-hybrid powered cruise ship, the Roald Amundsen. Named after the Norwegian explorer who was the first person to reach the South Pole, the vessel is being custom-built for sustainable operations in Antarctica and other pristine polar regions. 

Hurtigruten has two more battery-hybrid powered cruise ships on order for delivery in 2020 and 2021.  

Hurtigruten is known for “expedition-style” cruises in the Arctic and Antarctica as well as regular sailings up and down the Norwegian coast. It draws customers from around the world including North America. 

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