The cruise industry’s first hybrid-powered ship will debut in summer 2023 as part of Royal Caribbean Group’s ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises brand. The new class of ships, known as ‘Project Evolution’, will operate using a trio of power sources including a fuel cell system, battery technology and dual fuel engines that use liquefied natural gas (LNG) as their main fuel. This hybrid solution, using fuel cell technology, allows the ship to be free of local emissions while in port, another industry first.
“Silversea’s newest class of ships is a significant advance in our commitment to sustainable ship design and our journey to reduce our environmental footprint,” said Richard Fain, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group. “We first announced our fuel cell ambitions several years ago. Thanks to our dedication and perseverance, we are now proud to introduce the first ship with full-scale fuel cell technology capable of achieving emission-free port operations.”
“The addition of fuel cells to our ships now is an example of how Royal Caribbean Group is preparing to use new technologies as we move towards a carbon-free future,” continued Fain. “This pioneering approach is based on our spirit of innovation.”
The new hybrid technology not only helps in port, but also enables Project Evolution to achieve an overall 40% reduction in its greenhouse gas emissions per double occupancy compared to the brand’s previous class of ships. The ship class is also expected to achieve an Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) approximately 25% better than the applicable International Maritime Organization (IMO) requirements.
“Being at the forefront of sustainable shipping design and innovation is a testament to our team’s drive for continuous improvement,” said Roberto Martinoli, President and CEO of Silversea Cruises. “These advancements support our desire to show the world to our guests and to do so in an environmentally conscious and responsible way.”
Royal Caribbean Group is already known for a strong portfolio of technologies that improve energy efficiency, waste treatment and water management. This constant progress remains ingrained in the company’s mantra of continuous improvement. It will drive the future of the Group as alternative non-carbon solutions become available to support its overall decarbonisation journey.
The full suite of Project Evolution initiatives, developed in partnership with Meyer Werft Shipyard, will take energy efficiency to a new level and will include both pioneering initiatives of its kind and previously introduced successful features such as:
- Fuel Cell System: This hydrogen-based technology will complement the main power supply and carry the ship’s full hotel load (up to four megawatts), the first large-scale fuel cell installation at sea in the cruise industry .
- LNG (liquefied natural gas) – A cleaner burning fuel, LNG fueled propulsion systems emit less CO2 and 97% less particulate matter than normal fuel oil used on ships.
- Battery – A battery bank optimizes the overall power system of the boat and saves fuel.
- Waste to Energy – The newly developed Micro Auto Gasification System (MAGS) reduces the volume of waste on board, resulting in lower emissions from incineration.
- Progress Towards Carbon Neutral Construction – In partnership with the Meyer Werft shipyard, Project Evolution is carefully designed and built with the carbon footprint of shipbuilding in mind and creating a path to overall reduction.
For more than 30 years, Royal Caribbean Group has invested in its commitment to sustainability. In partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in 2016, the company set specific, ambitious and measurable sustainability goals for 2020 to reduce its environmental footprint, increase sustainable tourism, respect coastal communities and cultural heritage, and support global work. Conservation of the oceans of WWF.
In addition, the company continues to advocate for sustainable practices globally, including collaboration with the United Nations High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy and a commitment to deliver on the promise of the Paris Agreement through partnership with the coalition We Are Still In.