Maritime News

Trio Working to Build World’s First Hydrogen-powered Oceangoing Cruise Ship

MSC Group’s cruise division, shipbuilder Fincantieri, and Italian energy infrastructure company Snam have signed a memorandum of understanding to determine the conditions for the design and construction of what would become the world’s first oceangoing hydrogen-powered cruise ship.

The owner of the world’s third largest cruise brand and part of the leading global shipping and logistics conglomerate MSC Group, giant shipbuilding group Fincantieri, and Snam have joined forces to initially carry out a study that will assess the feasibility of designing and building the world’s first oceangoing cruise ship powered by hydrogen, which would allow zero-emissions operations in certain areas, and the development of the related hydrogen bunkering infrastructure.

Green hydrogen can be produced without fossil fuels, using renewable energy to split water in a process called electrolysis, and can be emissions-free on a full lifecycle basis.

It can be used to generate electricity through a fuel cell, emitting only water vapor and heat. This type of ‘green’ hydrogen holds great potential to contribute to the decarbonization of the shipping industry, including cruising, whether in its pure form or as a hydrogen-derived fuel, the three firms said Monday.

Under the MoU, over the next year, the trio will study key factors related to the development of oceangoing hydrogen-powered cruise ships. 

These include 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 aims to achieve net carbon neutral operations by 2050. 

 Hydrogen: Key enabler to net-zero in shipping

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. 

However, today production levels remain low and hydrogen fuel is still 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 decarbonization of cruising and shipping.”

Giuseppe Bono, Fincantieri’s CEO said: “Every opportunity for new solutions and technologies is a source of growth for us. This one allows us to offer our customers the best of innovation to help minimize the environmental impact.”

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, as well as in all the hard to abate sectors. 

“Snam is strongly committed to concrete initiatives for sustainable heavy transport – on road, rail and by sea – promoting the use of renewable gases such hydrogen and bioLNG. This agreement for us is part of a wider strategy to leverage on our experience, competencies and technologies in green gases and energy efficiency in order to contribute to the full decarbonisation of the shipping value chain, including ports and logistics, which will be increasingly crucial in our economies.”

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