Carnival launches first fuel cell powered cruise ship - Smart Energy Decisions

Commercial, Distributed Generation  -  October 15, 2019

Carnival trials first fuel cell-powered cruise ship

Carnival Corporation & plc will become the first in the cruise industry to trial fuel cells on a large passenger vessel through its German-based brand, AIDA Cruises, in a project expected to set sail as early as 2021.

The fuel cells, designed by Freudenberg Sealing Technologies, are expected to have a longer lifecycle than those currently being developed for automobiles, with early trials on land showing a lifespan of over 35,000 operating hours. The research project between leaders from the maritime and engineering sectors has been named “Pa-X-ell2” and centers around designing fuel cells that are powered by hydrogen derived from methanol, with the potential to supply power to cruise ships at even lower emissions levels than liquefied natural gas, the world's cleanest burning fossil fuel.

"With the first-time use of fuel cells onboard an oceangoing cruise ship, we will reach another important milestone on our journey to emission-neutral cruising," Felix Eichhorn, president of AIDA Cruises, said in a statement. "Our goal is to continue to show concrete solutions for achieving our climate targets."

Other benefits of the technology in development include lower noise and vibration from operation.

Carnival Corporation has been rolling out a slew on sustainability initiatives as part of its “green cruising” strategy. In September, they signed an agreement to install a lithium-ion battery power system on its AIDAperla ship in 2020, capable of generating a total output of 10-megawatt hours to help electrify the ship's propulsion and operation for periods of time.

Additionally, in December AIDA Cruises introduced the world’s first cruise ship capable of being powered in port and sea by liquified natural gas, which advances their goal of zero emissions of sulfur dioxide and substantial reduction of nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide emissions. AIDA is also exploring the use of CO2-free production of liquefied natural gas from renewable sources through its "Power to Gas" project. By the end of 2023, 94% of all AIDA guests will travel on ships that can be fully powered by low-emission LNG or shore power where possible.

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