MSC Group contemplates hydrogen-powered cruise ship

MOU signed with Fincantieri and Snam to study merits of H2 powered operation

MSC Cruises will spend the next year evaluating the development of a new hydrogen-powered oceangoing cruise ship as part of its latest environmental strategy.

MSC Group’s Cruise Division, Italian shipbuilding group, Fincantieri, and energy infrastructure company, Snam, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperatively assess the feasibility of designing and building the world’s first oceangoing cruise ship powered by hydrogen.

The vessel would allow zero-emissions operations in certain areas, and the development of the related hydrogen bunkering infrastructure.

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“Green hydrogen can be produced without fossil fuels, using renewable energy to split water in a process called electrolysis and can therefore be emissions-free on a full lifecycle basis. It can be used to generate electrical power through a fuel cell, emitting only water vapour and heat. This type of ‘green’ hydrogen holds great potential to contribute to the decarbonisation of the shipping industry, including cruising, whether in its pure form or as a hydrogen-derived fuel,” MSC said.

Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of the Cruise Division of MSC Group said, “As a Company that has long made environmental sustainability its focus, we want to put ourselves at the forefront of the energy revolution for our sector and hydrogen can greatly contribute to this.

Vago said hydrogen production levels are currently low and that the fuel is far from being available at scale.

“With this project, we’re taking the lead to bring this promising technology to our fleet and the industry while sending the strongest possible signal to the market about how seriously we take our environmental commitments.

“As we advance with the development of the maritime technology required, we will also see that energy providers take note and ramp up production to unlock this, and that governments and the public sector step in to provide the necessary support for a project that is critical to the decarbonisation of cruising and shipping.”

MSC Orchestra and MSC Divina at Fort-de-France | MSC Rights

Marco Alverà, Snam’s CEO said, “Hydrogen could be a key enabler in achieving the target of net zero emissions in shipping, accounting for approximately 3 percent of global CO2 emissions.”

Over the next 12 months the three companies will study key factors related to the development of oceangoing hydrogen-powered cruise ships, including arranging ship spaces to accommodate H2 technologies and fuel cells, technical parameters of onboard systems, calculating the potential greenhouse gas emissions savings, and a technical and economic analysis of hydrogen supply and infrastructure.

The Cruise Division of MSC Group is committed to achieving net carbon neutral operations by 2050.

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