RCL completes biofuel testing

2023-09-29T10:27:26+00:00 September 29th, 2023|Environment|

Royal Caribbean Group (RCL) has laid what it claims is important groundwork for the industry’s alternative fuel ambitions by completing over 12 consecutive weeks of biofuel testing in Europe.

The company’s pursuit to find lower carbon energy solutions is driven by its ’SEA the Future’ commitment to sustaining the planet, energising communities, and accelerating innovation.

By introducing methods that reduce emissions today, Royal Caribbean Group is ultimately advancing the de-carbonisation of its operations, it stressed.

“This is a pivotal moment for Royal Caribbean Group’s alternative fuel journey,” said Jason Liberty, RCL President and CEO. “Following our successful trial of biofuels this summer, we are one step closer to bringing our vision for net-zero cruising to life.

“As we strive to protect and promote the vibrant oceans we sail, we are determined to accelerate innovation and improve how we deliver vacation experiences responsibly,” he said.

Recently in Barcelona, Royal Caribbean International’s ’Symphony of the Seas (pictured) became what was claimed to be the first ship in the maritime industry to successfully test and use a biofuel blend to meet part of her fuel needs.

RCL confirmed on board technical systems met operational standards, without quality or safety concerns, demonstrating the biofuel blend is a reliable ‘drop in’ supply of lower emission energy that ships can use across Europe and beyond.

The tests across Europe also provided valuable data to understand the availability and scalability of biofuel in the region.

“Royal Caribbean’s success is a clear example of how commitment to innovation makes possible the development of solutions to de-carbonise the maritime sector.

“In this case, it involves the cruise sector and focuses on biofuels, an area in which the Port of Barcelona is already working to become an energy hub, producing and supplying zero carbon fuels, such as green hydrogen and ammonia, and of other almost zero-carbon alternative fuels, such as methanol, biofuels or synthetic fuels.

“Innovation and collaboration between ports and shipping companies is key to accelerate the de-carbonisation of maritime transport,” said Barcelona port President, Lluís Salvadó.

RCL began testing biofuels last year and expanded the trials this summer in Europe to two additional ships — Royal Caribbean International’s ’Symphony of the Seas and Celebrity Cruises’ ’Celebrity Apex.

The sustainable biofuel blends tested were produced by purifying renewable raw materials, such as waste oils and fats and combining them with fuel oil to create an alternative fuel that is cleaner and more sustainable.

They were accredited by International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC), an organisation that ensures sustainability of biofuels and verifies reductions of related emissions.

With ’Symphony of the Seas departing from Barcelona and ’Celebrity Apex sailing from Rotterdam, both ships accomplished multiple voyages using biofuel and contributed critical data on the fuel’s capabilities.

These results will help accelerate RCL’s plans to continue testing the use of different types of biofuels on forthcoming European sailings this Autumn. The company said that it was also exploring strategic partnerships with suppliers and ports to ensure the availability of biofuel and infrastructure to advance the maritime energy transition.