Carnival Corporation Is Accelerating Efficiency Goals

Carnival Liberty and Venezia

Carnival Corporation’s 2030 carbon-intensity-reduction goal of 40 percent has been moved up to 2026.

“What we thought we could do by 2030 (compared to a 2008 baseline) we are now comfortable we can do by 2026,” said Admiral Bill Burke, chief maritime officer at Carnival Corporation. “That’s a big one.”

How? It goes beyond a newer fleet mix and into Carnival’s Service Power Package program, a set of updates led on the corporate level from HVAC to lighting to engine improvements, being installed on ships across the fleet at all nine brands, Burke told Cruise Industry News.

“The (updates) work for any ship,” Burke explained. “Much of the work is done in drydock. It will take us three, four or five years to get through it all.”

Burke said decisions came from the corporate level on updates to the fleet.

“There are a couple of ships where we’ve worked with the brands to complete, and we can see the benefit. We see a significant drop in port electrical load as a result, and that translates when you are at sea. We know what those items are that need to be upgraded so we’ve put together a package for each ship based on what they have and what we think they need.”

Big Projects

“We’re looking at methanol engine conversions,” he said. “We’re doing the studies to see what is needed, which means tanks, piping and engine adjustments.”

Tank space would come from existing fuel tanks.

The company plans to take a retrofit approach, with its engine options already set for just a handful of newbuilds left on Carnival’s orderbook through 2026.

“We have a gap in our building process, and we are starting to work on new ship designs, but it’s not clear what the fuel will be. Methanol and LNG are both in the mix.”

A battery test onboard an AIDA ship is still in progress, with Burke explaining that it was performing well.

“We want to put it through its paces for several more months, but I don’t see any showstoppers,” he added.

Another test, involving a fuel cell, done on land, is also done and was successful. The next step would be to install it on a ship; no timeline has been set.

Another company project is air lubrication systems that inject a carpet of air bubbles under the hull when the ship is at speed, reducing friction and fuel use.

“Our initial plan is to install 19 of them,” Burke said. “And that is just the initial plan. We are halfway through the installation process. And what we see is that with a speed range of 10 to 18 knots, the best spot is in that 15-to-16-knot range, where you may see five to six percent in savings. That may sound like a lot, but when you think about the ship, it may not spend a lot of time in that speed range, so the payback time is longer.”

Next Steps

Over the last year, Carnival has tested ships with biofuels and biofuel blends, which require no changes to the ship’s engine settings. The Volendam completed the industry’s first multiweek test of biofuels last year, running both a marine biofuel blend and 100 percent biofuel.

“The 100 percent biofuel (blend) has different lubricating properties, but it is a drop-in fuel. We hope to use more of it but today it is quite expensive,” said Burke. The company is also planning a bio-LNG test in the near future as that fuel is expected to play a major role going forward.

But before the fuels of the future eliminate carbon, Burke has his eyes on improving efficiency. He said the company was already planning its Service Power Package 2.0.

“I think we can gain 20 to 40 percent more (in efficiency) without future fuels. We still have work to do as the fuels just aren’t going to be there in the volumes necessary for quite some time.”

Excerpt from the Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine Fall 2023

Photo Credit: G. Justin Zizes

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