MSC Group’s cruise division, Fincantieri and Snam have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to determine the conditions for the design and construction of the world’s first oceangoing hydrogen-powered cruise ship.
The three companies have joined forces to initially carry out a study to 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 by electrolysis and can therefore be emissions-free on a full lifecycle basis, the companies said.
It can be used to generate electrical power through a fuel cell, emitting only water vapour and heat.
Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of the Cruise Division of MSC Group (pictured), 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 de-carbonisation of cruising and shipping,” he said.
Giuseppe Bono, Fincantieri’s CEO, added: “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, commented, “Hydrogen could be a key enabler in achieving the target of net zero emissions in shipping, accounting for approximately 3% 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, competences and technologies in green gases and energy efficiency in order to contribute to the full de-carbonisation of the shipping value chain, including ports and logistics, which will be increasingly crucial in our economies,” he said.
Under the terms of the MoU, during the next 12 months, the three companies 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 on board systems, calculating the potential greenhouse gas emissions savings, and a technical and economic analysis of hydrogen supply and infrastructure.
MSC’s Cruise Division is committed to achieving net carbon neutral operations by 2050. To accomplish this, the company is working in partnership with a wide range of shipyards, suppliers, manufacturers and other organisations, as well as investing in different upcoming technologies and solutions for its fleet, the company said.