MSC Cruises’ innovative new ship – MSC World Europa – has arrived in Europe to commence her first Northern hemisphere summer season in the Mediterranean. Delivered in October 2022 by French shipbuilder Chantiers de l’Atlantique, MSC World Europa is MSC Cruises’ largest vessel and the first to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG). MSC World Europa is the best performing large cruise ship operating in the world in terms of CO2eq emissions per passenger.
Lisa Teiotu, Commercial director MSC Cruises AU/NZ said: “It is with great pride that we welcome MSC World Europa in Europe as she starts her first season in the Mediterranean. This groundbreaking vessel is a testimony of our commitment to sustainable cruising, with a range of unprecedented innovations in terms of environmental and marine technologies. MSC World Europa represents a major step forward on our journey towards meeting our target of net-zero emissions by 2050.”
The ship will be powered by LNG throughout the summer season, with her first bunkering in Marseille scheduled on 15 April 2023. LNG is the cleanest marine fuel currently available at scale. Compared to standard marine fuels, LNG virtually eliminates local air pollutant emissions – including sulphur oxides and fine particles – and reduces nitrogen oxides by up to 85 per cent.
LNG also plays a key role in climate change mitigation as it offers up to a 20 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and is paving the way for the uptake of sustainable non-fossil fuels such as bio- and synthetic LNG.
Unique fuel cell technology showing promising results
MSC World Europa is the world’s first contemporary cruise ship to feature brand new solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology powered by LNG. The ship includes a 150-kilowatt SOFC demonstrator that uses LNG to produce electricity and heat on board in a highly efficient way by means of an electrochemical reaction.
This could be a key to unlocking significant environmental sustainability gains in the future. Thanks to this increased efficiency, SOFC has the potential to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases substantially compared with a conventional LNG engine without producing emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides or fine particles. One great advantage is that not only is the cell compatible with LNG, but also with possible new sources of low carbon fuels such as green methanol, ammonia, liquid hydrogen and bio or synthetic LNG.
Linden Coppell, Vice President of Sustainability & ESG at MSC Cruises, said: “Nearly six months into testing, the fuel cell performance has been excellent, and we haven’t seen any signs of safety or maintenance issues. The efficiency to date – measured in terms of the energy we can generate from the same unit of fuel – is well above that of an internal combustion engine and has exceeded our expectations. We have operated the system continually and it has delivered a steady output even better than our forecast 150-kilowatt return. Obviously, this is a small fraction of the energy we need but we are confident that the system can be scaled up on future newbuilds. We recognise that this will requires close collaboration with partners across and outside of our industry, which is why MSC Cruises is actively involved in several different research initiatives and partnerships that all share the common objective of accelerating the transition toward a net-zero future.”
A range of other environmental features
MSC World Europa is equipped with shore power plug-in connectivity to reduce carbon emissions in port, as well as with an advanced wastewater treatment system (AWTS) that meets the world’s highest regulatory requirements, including the so-called Baltic standard. It treats all wastewater produced onboard to close to tap water standards. The ship also includes a ballast water treatment system that prevents the introduction of invasive species in the marine environment through ballast water discharges, in full compliance with IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention.
The vessel has an entire team of crew dedicated to implementing the strict waste management protocols which separate all wastes into seven distinct types, for example, glass, aluminum and paper, with specialised equipment to crush or bundle these waste types in the ship’s waste management facility.
In addition, MSC World Europa features underwater radiated noise management system to minimise disturbance to marine life and a comprehensive range of onboard energy efficient equipment to optimise engine use and hotel energy needs to reduce emissions further. It is also fitted with enhanced automatic data collection systems for remote energy monitoring and advanced analysis, allowing real-time shoreside support to optimise operational efficiency onboard.
Next-generation cruise experience
During this first summer season the Mediterranean, guests on board MSC World Europa will be able to experience the trailblazing ship’s extraordinary features and impressive spaces, including the spectacular World Promenade, immersive culinary experiences, next-level entertainment options and the largest, most action-packed kids’ area in MSC Cruises’ fleet.