Biodiesel and Methanol Emerge as Future Fuels for Norwegian Cruise Line

Biodiesel and methanol are two future fuels on the table for Norwegian Cruise Line.

“Biodiesel, from a well-to-wake way to the measure it, is a close to zero greenhouse gas,” said Harry Sommer, president of Norwegian Cruise Line, who said the fuel would be tested soon on a company ship.

“It’s compatible with the tanks and engines we have onboard. We’re going to test that and hope for the best.”

Sommer said the company is working on methanol and thinks that the supply of green methanol will start to grow considerably in the next few years. The company also recently signed a deal with MAN Energy Solutions to develop methanol-powered solutions.

“We’re looking to do some tests on one of our ships and perhaps convert a fuel tank and engine to be methanol-ready so we can burn methanol fuel in port in the next couple of years,” added Sommer, who was speaking at a press conference aboard the Norwegian Prima while it was docked at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal in New York City.

“We’re also looking at future ships, whether it is in this series or the next series, to have methanol tanks from day one,” he said.

Sommer said the company had also talked to shipyards about hydrogen, but the supply chain is not there yet.

In the near-term, Sommer said the fleet is burning low-sulfur fuel, is equipped with exhaust gas cleaning systems and use shore side power when available.

“The challenge with shore side power is it depends on port availability. Not many ports have it yet,” Sommer explained. “Even if you get shore side power, ultimately, your carbon emission depends on how that location is generating electricity to begin with. If they are using coal-generated electricity, it does nothing, it transfers the carbon emissions somewhere else. We need to be thoughtful about using shore side power in places that are generating electricity through somewhat sustainable means.”

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