MSC Cruises has signed an MOU that will see an LNG-operated fuel cell used for the first time
At the steel cutting ceremony of MSC Europa, MSC Cruises and Chantiers de l’Atlantique unveiled the R&D project named Pacboat that focuses on integrating a new fuel cell technology demonstrator on board the LNG-powered MSC Cruises ship. This demonstrator will produce electricity and heat using LNG. The announcement was marked by the signing of the consortium agreement between the various partners involved.
Integrating solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology on board a cruise ship is a world first. MSC Cruises explained in a statement, “This technology operates at very high temperature (~750°C) and is more efficient for high-power marine applications than the low-temperature hydrogen-based proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) solutions used in the automotive sector. The SOFC technology offers electrical efficiency up to 60%, and as the heat produced can be self-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 fuelled by LNG will reduce GHG emissions by about 30% compared with a conventional LNG engine, with no emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides or fine particles. In addition, it is compatible with many fuels (LNG/methane, methanol, ammonia, hydrogen, etc), and thus with their future low carbon versions.
MSC Cruises executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago added “We are pleased to support this highly innovative project, as it further demonstrates our commitment to developing 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.”
MSC Cruises is investing €5Bn in constructing five LNG-powered ships. The 205,700-gt LNG-powered World-class ship MSC Europa will come into service in May 2022 and is the first of four World-class ships to be constructed at Chantiers de l’Atlantique with further deliveries scheduled for 2024, 2025 and 2027.
In addition, one Meraviglia-Plus ship will also be propelled by LNG when the ship comes into service in 2023.