MSC Cruises has pledged to achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in its cruise marine operation by 2050.
According to a press release, this target – which will cover both MSC Cruises and Explora Journeys – goes beyond the IMO ambition to reduce emissions from shipping by 50 percent by 2050 compared to 2008 and “sets the company on a race to help accelerate the necessary technological and fuel developments required.”
MSC said that it has signed Getting to Zero Coalition’s Call to Action to accelerate the decarbonization of the overall shipping sector, including cruising.
The Call to Action includes three demands: setting a target for zero-emission shipping by 2050, deploying commercially viable zero-emission vessels by 2030, and joint action by the private and public sectors.
The Call to Action will be delivered to world governments in advance of COP26, the UN climate change conference to be held on Nov. 1-12 in Glasgow, Scotland.
“As a family business with over three hundred years of maritime heritage, we have always felt a deep responsibility towards our marine environment and our planet. Today we are taking our commitment one step further by embracing a net zero emissions future within the next three decades. We will achieve this by investing in and otherwise supporting the accelerated development and implementation of innovative, cutting-edge technologies to be deployed across our fleet, continuously raising the bar of environmental performance and leading our industry forward,” Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises, Pierfrancesco Vago said.
“Collaboration between operators, shipyards, technology manufacturers, academic institutions, public authorities and governments will be essential. There are already encouraging signs of such partnerships enabling progress, but more can and must be done. I call on all parties to work relentlessly towards this end and bring about the next great energy transition in our industry,” he added.
MSC said that in recent years it has focused on reducing GHG emissions intensity through the introduction of energy efficiency and operational improvement measures across its fleet. Having introduced an annual efficiency improvement of 2-4 percent across the fleet, the company said that it by 2019 had achieved a 28-percent efficiency improvement compared to 2008 and is “well on track” to meet the IMO’s 2030 40-percent intensity reduction target.
MSC also said that looking ahead, energy efficiency improvements and operational measures alone will not be enough to put the shipping sector on a decarbonization course. For this reason, the brand is “actively helping accelerate the significant technological evolution that is required.”
The company said that it is taking part in several industry research projects seeking to develop the technologies and fuels that offer the potential to enable zero-emissions ships.
• Hydrogen-powered vessels: MSC Cruises recently entered into a partnership with leading shipbuilder Fincantieri and energy infrastructure company Snam to determine the conditions for the design and construction of what could become the world’s first oceangoing hybrid hydrogen/LNG-powered cruise ship, which would allow for zero-emissions operations in certain areas. These include arranging ship spaces to accommodate the necessary hydrogen technologies and fuel cells, identifying the technical parameters of onboard systems, calculating the potential greenhouse gas emissions savings, and technical and economic analysis of hydrogen supply and shore-based infrastructure.
• Fuel Cells on LNG-powered vessels: Fuel cells offer great potential to achieve meaningful reductions, MSC said. Having ordered three ships that will run on LNG, MSC is studying the integration of fuel cells as a means to achieve further reductions. MSC Cruises and Chantiers de l’Atlantique in 2019 unveiled Blue Horizon, a research and development project that focuses on the integration of a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) technology on LNG-powered cruise ships.
• Retrofitting fuel cell technology: MSC Cruises has also joined a consortium with GE Power Conversion, Lloyd’s Register and Ceres Power Holdings to explore how to address the barriers to the adoption of fuel cells in large ship applications. It will examine how SOFCs can be integrated into a ship’s operational functionality including the existing power and propulsion architecture and layout, allowing the impact of using SOFC technology to be quantified in terms of overall emissions reduction. The project has been awarded funding as part of the UK Department for Transport’s Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition.
• Low carbon technologies and ship design: MSC Cruises is also partnering with industry leaders and academia in a research project that “promotes low-carbon shipping by combining progressive energy technologies and innovative ship design.” Led by the University of Vaasa in Finland, the CHEK Consortium – deCarbonising sHipping by enabling Key Technology symbiosis on real vessels concept designs project – involves the World Maritime University, Wärtsilä, Cargill and Lloyds Register, among others.
With this and other future projects, MSC said that it will continue to work towards a “net zero emissions future for itself and the entire cruise industry.”
The Getting to Zero Coalition is a partnership between the Global Maritime Forum, the Friends of Ocean Action and the World Economic Forum. According to the press release, the alliance includes more than 150 companies within the maritime, energy, infrastructure and finance sectors