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MSC starts study into hydrogen-powered cruise ship

MSC Cruises is to investigate the potential for developing the world’s first oceangoing hydrogen-powered cruise ship.

A study to assess the feasibility of designing and building zero-emissions vessel is to be carried out in conjunction with Italian shipyard Fincantieri and energy infrastructure company Snam.

Green hydrogen can be produced without fossil fuels, using renewable energy to split water in a process called electrolysis and can therefore be emissions-free on a full lifecycle basis.

It can be used to generate electrical power through a fuel cell, emitting only water vapor and heat.

“This type of ‘green’ hydrogen holds great potential to contribute to the decarbonisation of the shipping industry, including cruising, whether in its pure form or as a hydrogen-derived fuel,” MSC said.

The cruise division of the wider MSC global shipping group is committed to achieving net carbon neutral operations by 2050.

The company is working in partnership with a range of shipyards, suppliers, manufacturers and other organisations as well as investing in different upcoming technologies and solutions for its fleet.

Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of the cruise division of MSC Group, said: “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 decarbonisation of cruising and shipping.”

Snam chief executive Marco Alverà said: “Hydrogen could be a key enabler in achieving the target of net zero emissions in shipping, accounting for approximately 3 percent 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 decarbonisation of the shipping value chain, including ports and logistics, which will be increasingly crucial in our economies.”

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