MSC Cruises has announced that the fifth and sixth cruise ship in their new luxury cruise line Explora Journeys will be powered by hydrogen.
EXPLORA V and VI will feature a new generation of liquefied natural gas (LNG) engines that will tackle the issue of methane slip and will also be equipped with industry first environmental technologies and solutions, including a containment system for liquid hydrogen that will enable them to use this promising low-carbon fuel.
Hydrogen fuel will power a six-megawatt fuel cell to produce emissions-free power for the hotel operation and allow the vessels to run on ‘zero emissions’ in port, with the engines turned off. The two newbuilds will come into service in 2027 and 2028, respectively.
Explora Journeys also said that the previously announced vessels EXPLORA III and IV will now be powered by LNG. The two ships will be enlarged by 19 meters to enable the installation of a new generation system based on LNG and hydrogen. This has provided an opportunity to enhance the mix of suites with an increased number of spacious and luxurious Ocean Residences and larger public spaces, which offer a true sense of being at home at sea.
Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of the Cruise Division of MSC Group, said, “Explora Journeys is building ships for tomorrow, utilizing today’s latest technologies and being ready to adapt to alternative energy solutions as they become available. The announcement today marks another significant step forward in our goal as a business to reach net zero emissions by 2050 across all our cruise operation for the two brands and a further proof of our commitment to invest in the most advanced marine environmental technologies available to develop sustainable solutions for the future. This transition to zero emissions operations for the maritime industry is the biggest challenge that we will ever face, and this will only be achieved by everyone playing their part – by investing in research and development and through significant investment both by companies but also governments.”
LNG is currently the cleanest marine fuel currently available at scale and it virtually eliminates local air pollutant emissions like Sulphur oxides (99 per cent), nitrogen oxides (85 per cent) and particles (98 per cent). In terms of emissions with a global impact, LNG plays a significant role in climate change mitigation with the engines having the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 25 per cent compared to standard marine fuels. In addition, with the increasing availability of bio and synthetic forms of LNG in the future, this energy source will provide a pathway toward eventual decarbonized operations.
All six cruise ships in Explora Journeys’ fleet will have a comprehensive range of onboard energy efficient equipment to optimize engine use to further reduce emissions.