A top Carnival executive unveils the group’s emission strategy, including LNG, scrubbers and fuel cells
Carnival Corp has been leading the way within the cruise industry with the use of LNG as fuel for seven ships on its orderbook. It is also studying fuel cells, cold-ironing and efficient water use as further energy-saving technologies.
An Immediasea event (a roundtable industry debate) in London in November gathered top industry executives to discuss whether the cruise ship industry is putting the environment at risk, during which Carnival senior vice president of maritime affairs Tom Strang unveiled the company’s emissions management strategy.
“Sustainability is core for our business,” he told the audience. “We are committed to being responsible citizens as without clean destinations we do not have a product in the future.”
Carnival Corp has set a range of 2020 sustainability goals and Mr Strang said that the two top items on the cruise operator’s emissions targets are reducing its carbon footprint and developing and deploying exhaust gas cleaning systems.
Those goals sit alongside expanding its advanced wastewater purification system across its fleet, reducing waste generated by its ships and increasing cold ironing coverage of its fleet (see infographic).
Future-proofing with LNG
LNG is a key part of reducing its carbon footprint. The keel-laying of Costa Smeralda, Carnival Corp’s first vessel to be LNG-fuelled at sea was performed at Meyer Turku shipyard in September 2017. The plan is for the ship to run 100% on LNG, despite having dual-fuel engines, with marine gas oil only be used for ignition for the LNG and as a back-up for safe return to port. Only a tiny amount will be used for ignition, around 0.1 g/kWh.
Costa Smeralda is to be followed by six more newbuilds, all to be dual-fuelled in the same way.
The company’s LNG strategy started in 2015, when AIDAsol was the first cruise ship in the world to be supplied with electricity from an LNG-fuelled hybrid barge when in port. In 2016 AIDAprima was introduced. Its dual-fuelled generator uses LNG to supply all the ship’s hotel load while alongside in northern Europe. AIDAperla was introduced in 2017 and uses LNG in port in the western Mediterranean.
“We are not saying it is a silver bullet but goes a long way with regards to emissions profile reductions” Tom Strang (Carnival Corp)
Carnival has chosen to use LNG for myriad reasons. Mr Strang said “We are looking at technology for the future and LNG future-proofs us. It has the best emissions profile of any fossil fuel and meets and exceeds all current [regulatory] requirements and those in the foreseeable future.”
It also offers – compared to heavy diesel oil – a 15% well-to-wake reduction in carbon emissions, 90% reduction in particulate matter, 75% reduction in nitrogen oxides and zero sulphur dioxide emissions.
Mr Strang said “We are not saying it is a silver bullet but goes a long way with regards to emissions profile reductions.” It is also competitively priced, he added.
Mr Strang highlighted how the announcement that container shipping company CMA CGM was going to use LNG for the first time on its nine 22,000 TEU newbuilds would be a “step change” in world shipping.
Scrubbers are also an important part of Carnival Corp’s emissions reduction strategy, with 59% of its fleet currently fitted with scrubbers, equating to 161 exhaust scrubbers deployed across 64 ships. “We believe the technology delivers a very good product. It has taken us a long time for us to get to where we need to, but we are there,” Mr Strang said.
He added that although a “lot of people say they don’t believe in scrubbers”, proof that they work comes from Carnival’s experience of using them, he said. He pointed out a range of environmental benefits, including that heavy fuel oil when used with scrubbers provides the same or better air emissions as 0.1% marine gas oil.
Mr Strang added “We are working very closely with regulators to make sure that the [scrubber’s] wash water meets and exceeds all current regulatory requirements. We have had this independently verified.”
Shore power is another important area that the cruise operator is focusing on and Mr Strang highlighted some figures based on Carnival’s experience:
· Number of ships fitted and ready now for shore power: 36.
· Number of ships with partial installation: 8.
· Number of newbuilds on order with (partial) shore power installation: 16.
· Number of ports outfitted for shore power (cruise capable): 12 – Hamburg, Livorno, Long Beach, San Pedro/Los Angeles, Vancouver, Juneau, San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle, Shanghai, Halifax and Brooklyn.
He said “We are happy to discuss [shore power] with ports but it is a significant investment and doesn’t make sense if the electric power used to generate shore power isn’t clean.”
Fuels for the future
He revealed that Carnival believes fuel cells have a part to play and has invested in several research projects in this area. “The question is where fuel cells sit in [a] carbon-neutral future. We see them as helping us to reduce hotel load, which is quite significant.”
Carnival’s sustainability goals drive the group’s investment in new technology and research and development programmes. Its R&D programmes are looking at high-efficiency chillers and advanced automation in its HVAC systems, waste heat recovery using exhaust gases and steam turbines, advanced turbochargers and air lubrication systems that use air bubble distribution on the hull surface to reduce friction.
“We are on the pathway to zero emissions shipping; that is where we want to be and is our long-term vision,” Mr Strang summed up.
Snapshot CV: Tom Strang
Carnival Corp senior vice president of maritime affairs Tom Strang leads Carnival’s LNG strategy. Previously he was senior vice president of marine operations at Costa Cruises for three years. Prior to this, he was responsible for developing policy in health, environment and safety areas of maritime operations for Carnival Corp. Before that he worked for Carnival Corporate Shipbuilding as principal safety manager and with Lloyd’s Register as a surveyor specialising in passenger ship safety.