MSC Cruises, the cruise division of Swiss MSC Group, says its LNG-fuelled newbuild MSC World Europa is set to become the greenest and most efficient vessel in its fleet when it is delivered in October 2022.

On 23 May, MSC Cruises informed about the ship’s environmental credentials. These include solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC), a selective catalytic reduction system, and enhanced shore-to-ship power capability. The vessel will also be the largest LNG-powered cruise ship in the world when it launches later this year, the company said.

MSC World Europa will be the world’s first contemporary cruise vessel to feature brand new SOFC technology powered by LNG developed by MSC Cruises, French shipyard Chantiers de l’Atlantique, and California-based Bloom Energy.

It will include a 150-kilowatt SOFC demonstrator that will generate auxiliary power to deliver efficiency gains and significant CO2 emissions reductions compared to traditional internal combustion engines. It will be a testbed to accelerate the development of fuel cell technology for contemporary cruise ships and offers the potential to enable hybrid propulsion solutions in the future.

Linden Coppell, director of sustainability for MSC Cruises, said: “We are committed to a net-zero future, which is why we are investing heavily in the development of low-carbon fuels and solutions that will accelerate the decarbonisation of the maritime sector. MSC World Europa will be our most efficient ship yet and help us prove and refine environmental technologies for the future of our fleet. With this project, we are also advancing partnerships with technology suppliers, energy companies, academia, and regulatory bodies. We must all deepen our collaboration to unlock a zero-emissions future.”

Compared to standard marine fuels, LNG nearly eliminates air pollutant emissions, including sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides, and fine particles, and achieves a CO2 reduction of up to 25 per cent. LNG will also enable the development of low-carbon fuels and solutions such as green hydrogen, bio-LNG, and fuel cells.

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The ship features a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system that reduces NOx emissions by 90 per cent when LNG is not available, and the ship must run on marine gas oil. As LNG fuel achieves a similar reduction, MSC World Europa will always meet International Maritime Organization’s (IMO’s) Tier III NOx emissions standards.

On top of this, shore-to-ship power connectivity allows it to minimise engine use at ports where the required infrastructure is available.

It also features the latest wastewater treatment technology, in compliance with the IMO’s MEPC 227(64) Resolution, fully aligned with the world’s most stringent regulatory requirements – the so-called ‘Baltic Standard’. The ship includes an advanced ballast water treatment system that prevents the introduction of invasive species in the marine environment through ballast water discharges.

The ship has been designed with an innovative hull shape to minimise resistance through the water. It will also be fitted with enhanced automatic data collection systems for remote energy monitoring and advanced analysis.

All this will enable an operational performance far higher than the IMO-required energy design criteria for new ships. Therefore, MSC World Europa is designed to perform 47 per cent better than it is required Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI).

MSC Cruises has three firm orders for LNG-powered vessels, for delivery between 2022 and 2025. This represents an overall investment of over €3 billion ($3.2 million). MSC World Europa will be followed by MSC Euribia, which is also currently under construction in Saint Nazaire. This vessel will enter service in 2023.

Construction of the third ship is to start in early 2023.

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