LNG has officially made it within the cruise industry – and has been widely used within the ferry industry for a while now. And now it is time to open the door to other alternative fuels and power.
Many argue that the challenges of using alternative fuels such as hydrogen mean they are not going to be deployed as a mainstream alternative fuel any time soon. But despite these challenges, I think they will be embraced sooner than some critics think.
As Lloyd’s Register Americas lead electromechanical specialist George Legg said at this year’s Seatrade Cruise Global panel on LNG and alternative fuels (see pages 37-39) “LNG is a stepping stone technology for the next 30-40 years, but we need to keep developing sources that have less environmental impact.”
LNG, while it has huge advantages in terms of reduced emissions, is still a fossil fuel and the maritime industry environmental regulatory framework is becoming increasingly strict.
Speakers at Seatrade Cruise Global’s alternative fuels panel agreed that LNG has passed a ‘tipping point’ within this industry (see pages 37-39). This surely helps smooth the path to using other alternative fuels.
Indeed, in this session, while the challenges to using hydrogen were discussed, Shell LNG marketing and trading team lead Americas, John Grubic said that Shell was “looking carefully at hydrogen”.
And RINA Services marine chief commercial officer Paolo Moretti said the class society has developed rules for classing methanol on board vessels, and that IMO will soon be launching guidelines on the use of methanol as fuel. The creation of a solid framework will encourage the use of methnaol.
Inroads have already been made into the use of fuel cells within the cruise industry. ABB’s fuel cell system is to be piloted on board a Royal Caribbean International vessel and will be the first fuel cell system to provide an energy source for a luxury cruise ship.
ABB Marine & Ports managing director Juha Koskela said “Fuel cells have been the next big thing for 25 years, but now they are reality.”
And in October last year Viking Cruises revealed plans for a liquid hydrogen-fuelled cruise ship in an effort to create an emission-free cruise ship.
There is a definite movement towards an emission-free passenger ship. STX France has launched a carbon-free cruise design that uses wind a main source of power – a design that is first-of-its-kind (see page 39). And the wind technology solution will be trialled on a Ponant cruise ship.
STX France vice president of projects Stéphane Cordier told Passenger Ship Technology “The message is that we are doing as much as we can not to use any fuel in the cruise ship.”
There is also other encouraging news on the wind front. Viking Line’s LNG-fuelled Viking Grace has become the first passenger ship to be powered by wind. It started deploying wind power in April after being equipped with a rotor sail – and the ferry operator’s newbuild will also use wind power.
Viking Line said LNG dual-fuelled Viking Grace is the first passenger ship in the world equipped with a rotor sail for using wind power. Developed by the Finnish company Norsepower, the Rotor Sail solution will cut fuel consumption and reduce emissions by up to 900 tonnes annually.
Viking Line and STX France are opening the door to other passenger ship operators to use wind power.
The growing momentum to build emission-free cruise ships and ferries will accelerate mainstream use of other alternative power apart from LNG.