MSC Cruises’ first 204,000-ton, 5,400-guest World Class vessel will carry the name MSC Europa, as Chantiers de l’Atlantique cut steel on the newbuild today in a ceremony in France. The ship will debut in 2022 and is the first of four in the series to be fueled by LNG. In addition, the MSC and Chantiers de l’Atlantique confirmed innovative fuel cell technology for the newbuild via a new memorandum of understanding.
Codenamed PACBOAT, the research and development project focuses on the integration of a new fuel cell technology. The technology will have an output power of 50KW and will produce electricity and heat using LNG.
Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises, stated: “We are pleased to be able to support this highly innovative project, as it further demonstrates our commitment to contributing to the development of next-generation advanced environmental technology for the benefit of the entire industry. This is a key element in our journey towards zero-emissions operations both at sea and ashore.”
The integration of a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) technology onboard a cruise ship is a world first, according to a statement.
This technology, which operates at very high temperature (750°C), is the most efficient for high-power marine like applications than the low-temperature Hydrogen-based Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) solutions, the yard said, in a press release.
The SOFC technology offers electrical efficiency up to 60 percent, and as the heat produced can be consumed on board, its total efficiency – heat and electricity – can be much higher, resulting in a direct reduction of energy consumption and therefore of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
This SOFC solution fueled by LNG would thus reduce emission of GHGs by about 30 percent compared with a conventional dual fuel LNG engine, with no emission of nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides or fine particles.
Led by Chantiers de l’Atlantique, PACBOAT is based on a cutting-edge SOFC technology developed and patented by the CEA. It is funded by the French government’s Investments for the Future Program (PIA) and supported by ADEME, the French Environment and Energy Management Agency. Additionally, it is part of the Ecorizon R&D program dedicated to the energy and environmental efficiency of ships and launched in 2008 by Chantiers de l’Atlantique.