Eco-Friendly Cruising: Exploring the Era of Zero-Emission Ships

The Era of Zero-Emission Ships

Eco-Friendly Cruising: Exploring the Era of Zero-Emission Ships: Cruising along the stunning Norwegian coastline, picture yourself surrounded by snow-covered peaks, listening to the soothing sound of lapping waves. What if this serene experience could be enjoyed on a cruise ship that is environmentally friendly? Specialty cruise line Hurtigruten Norway is striving to make this vision a reality with its proposed “zero-emission” ship, scheduled to set sail in 2030.

Gerry Larsson-Fedde, COO for Hurtigruten Norway, emphasizes the ship’s quietness as a significant benefit. The vessel, powered by a combination of batteries and retractable sails with solar panels, aims to provide passengers with a unique experience when enjoying the open air on deck. Hurtigruten Norway’s ship, announced in 2022 and detailed in collaboration with 12 maritime partners and SINTEF research institute, represents one of several sustainable sailing models showcased by cruise lines in recent weeks.

The “zero-emission” ship will feature a more aerodynamic hull design, retractable thrusters, and underwater air lubrication technology, which reduces drag by enabling the vessel to glide on air bubbles. Charging the ship’s battery system during an 11-day sailing will be accomplished in six ports along the way, with the line selecting ports capable of providing the necessary power. However, further infrastructure development, including charging stations, will be required. Additionally, the vessel will benefit from the country’s 24-hour sunlight during the summer months.

MSC Cruises has also made strides in sustainability, conducting its first “net-zero” greenhouse gas emissions sailing on the MSC Euribia. The voyage, which utilized bio-LNG through a mass balance system, demonstrated MSC Cruises’ commitment to its sustainability goals. While challenges exist regarding the availability and production of alternative fuels, the company’s use of certified bio-LNG sourced from agricultural and municipal waste residues exemplifies a more environmentally friendly approach.

Decarbonizing the marine industry requires diverse solutions tailored to specific regions and vessel types. While ships like Hurtigruten Norway’s can be ideal for short-range cruises, batteries in their current form are impractical for longer cruises. However, advancements in energy density could make a significant difference in the future. Moreover, the availability of renewable energy sources is crucial for maintaining a zero-carbon status

The Era of Zero-Emission Ships

To promote greener practices, cruise lines are implementing energy-efficient technologies. Hurtigruten plans to utilize heat exchange pumps, insulated distribution systems, and guest-controlled energy use in their rooms. MSC Cruises optimized various ship systems, such as speed profiles, HVAC, and lighting, to reduce energy consumption. French cruise line Ponant has also announced its plans for an emissions-free ship powered by wind, solar, and fuel cells.

As cruise ships have a lifespan of 20 to 30 years, the industry’s major decisions made in this decade will shape its path towards achieving zero-carbon goals by 2050. Hurtigruten will embark on research and development efforts in the coming years, with ship construction expected to commence around 2027. MSC Cruises aims to raise awareness and encourage governments to scale up the production of sustainable fuels.

The pursuit of eco-friendly cruising holds promise but requires ongoing collaboration and innovation. By embracing sustainability, cruise lines can lead the way in preserving the natural beauty of our oceans and providing unforgettable experiences for passengers.

Read more news at Newstanbul Media.

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