In the latest edition of ‘AIDA cares’, the company has outlined further progress on its way to emission-neutral cruising.
As early as 2023, 94% of all AIDA guests will be sailing on ships that can be fully operated with low-emission LNG or, while in port, with green shore power.
After 10 years of research and development, AIDA Cruises claimed a technological quantum leap with the commissioning of ‘AIDAnova’ on 12th December, 2018, the world’s first cruise ship to fully operate on LNG.
By 2023, two more of these innovative ships will be in operation. The company is also retrofitting ships in its existing fleet on an ongoing basis with green technology. The use of LNG, shore power from renewable energy sources, modern exhaust gas cleaning systems, the reduction or complete elimination of plastic and disposable products, and the avoidance of food waste on board, are key issues that AIDA Cruises is tackling, the company said.
“As Germany’s market leader for cruises, we accept the ecological and social challenges that we face both now and in the future, and we are taking responsibility. Today we are already exploring together with our partners the use of fuel cells, batteries or liquefied gas from renewable sources in the cruise industry.
“We are committed to both the Paris climate targets and those of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). Our long-term goal is clear: emission-neutral cruising,” said AIDA President, Felix Eichhorn, speaking at the launch of ‘AIDA cares 2019’.
Overall Carnival Corp – which owns AIDA Cruises – has commissioned 11 LNG-powered ships for four of its cruise brands, which will be put into service by 2025.
Like ‘AIDAnova’, all of these ships will be built at the Meyer Werft shipyards in Papenburg (Germany) and Turku (Finland). The floating engine room units and LNG tanks will be produced at the Meyer Werft shipyard’s Neptun Werft in Rostock-Warnemünde, while the dual-fuel engines will also be built in Rostock-Warnemünde, by Caterpillar.
All AIDA ships built from 2000 (12 ships) will be equipped for shore power connection.
On average, an AIDA ship spends 40% of its operating time in port. Shore power is therefore an important subject for AIDA Cruises when it comes to retrofitting the ships in the existing fleet with green technology. By using shore power from renewable energy sources while the ships are in port, emissions can be virtually reduced to zero.
As early as 2004, with the commissioning of ‘AIDAdiva’, AIDA Cruises was already considering the use of shore power as an option for eco-friendly ship operation when building both ‘AIDAdiva’ and all further ships. This was 10 years before the first plans for a shore power plant for cruise ships started to take shape in Germany. Since 2017, ‘AIDAsol’ has been using the shore power plant in Hamburg-Altona during regular operations.
To enable the eco-friendly shore power technology on board the AIDA ships can be used more extensively in future, port infrastructures needs to be developed. In 2018, AIDA Cruises teamed up with the state governments of Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, forming partnerships for environmentally-friendly cruise tourism, with the aim of providing shore power for cruise ships at the ports of Kiel and Rostock by 2020. AIDA Cruises is ready to start test operations in both ports next year.
For all AIDA ships that cannot be entirely powered by LNG, the Advanced Air Quality Systems (AAQS) developed by the Carnival Group are currently the most eco-friendly alternative for reducing ship emissions on board AIDA ships when they are at sea.
In 2013, as part of an investment programme, AIDA Cruises had started to retrofit its fleet with exhaust gas cleaning systems. Currently nine of 12 AIDA ships have been equipped with them.
AIDA has set itself the goal of equipping all ships in the existing fleet (except ‘AIDAcara’) that cannot be entirely powered by LNG to improve their air quality.
Next technological leap involves the first practical fuel cells trials on board an AIDA ship planned for 2021.
As part of its Green Cruising Strategy, AIDA is exploring the possibility of CO2-free production of liquefied gas from renewable sources (‘Power to gas’ project) or the use of fuel cells and batteries for cruise ships.