AIDA Cruises pushes for carbon neutral sailing

AIDA Cruises pushes for carbon neutral sailing
AIDA Cruises plans to reduce its emissions at sea and in port by using a combination of LNG, shore power, scrubbers, and low sulphur-fuel. Image courtesy of AIDA Cruises

AIDA Cruises, owned by Carnival Corporation, reports that as early as 2023, 94 per cent of all its guests will be sailing on ships that can be fully operated with low-emission liquefied natural gas (LNG) or, in port, with green shore power. The company is also planning on trialling fuel cells and batteries to achieve carbon free operations.

Fuel cells

As part of its Green Cruising Strategy, AIDA is exploring the possibility of CO2-free production of liquefied gas from renewable sources (“Power to gas” project) or the use of fuel cells and batteries for cruise ships. Within the scope of the “Pa-X-ell 2” project (promoted by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure), practical trials of fuel cells onboard an AIDA ship are planned as early as 2021 in conjunction with the Meyer Werft shipyard and other partners.

Shore power

On average, an AIDA ship spends 40 per cent of its operating time in port. By using shore power from renewable energy sources while the ships are in port, emissions can be virtually reduced to zero.

Ten ships of the AIDA fleet are currently equipped with a shore power connection or are technically prepared for it. All AIDA ships built from 2000 onwards (twelve ships) will be able to use shore power by the end of 2020.

In 2018 AIDA Cruises teamed up with the state governments of Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, forming partnerships for environmentally-friendly cruise tourism, with the aim of providing shore power for cruise ships at the ports of Kiel and Rostock by 2020. AIDA Cruises is ready to start test operations in both ports by 2020.

Felix Eichhorn, president of AIDA Cruises. Image courtesy of AIDA Cruises

LNG

AIDA has been engaging in research and development of the use of LNG in the cruise industry for over ten years.

The launch of the LNG-powered AIDAnova in December 2018 marked the company’s first ship operated entirely with LNG both at sea and in port. Two more of these vessels will be commissioned in 2021 and 2023. At present, AIDAnova is sailing in the Western Mediterranean, and is supplied with LNG every 14 days in Barcelona.

Overall, Carnival Corporation has commissioned eleven LNG powered ships for four of its cruise brands, which will be put into service by 2025. All of these ships will be built at the Meyer Werft shipyards in Papenburg (Germany) and Turku (Finland). The floating engine room units and LNG tanks will be produced at the Meyer Werft shipyard’s Neptun Werft in Rostock-Warnemünde, while the dual-fuel engines will also be built in Rostock-Warnemünde, by Caterpillar.

Scrubbers

In 2013, as part of an investment program, AIDA Cruises started to retrofit its fleet with exhaust gas cleaning systems (also known as scrubbers). Currently nine of twelve AIDA ships have been equipped with them.

AIDA has set itself the goal of equipping all ships in the existing fleet (except AIDAcara) that cannot be entirely powered by LNG in this way to improve air quality.

Emissions of particulates, nitrogen oxides and sulphur oxides will be significantly reduced. Carbon monoxide emissions can be cut by up to 70 per cent, while emissions of unburned hydrocarbons are reduced by up to 85 per cent. Where AIDA Cruises is licensed to operate these systems in its global travel regions and/or ports, they are being successfully deployed.

“As Germany’s market leader for cruises, we accept the ecological and social challenges that we face both now and in the future, and we are taking responsibility. Today we are already exploring together with our partners the use of fuel cells, batteries or liquefied gas from renewable sources in the cruise industry. We are committed to both the Paris climate targets and those of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Our long-term goal is clear: emission-neutral cruising,” said AIDA president Felix Eichhorn at the launch of “AIDA cares 2019”.

Read more about AIDA Cruises’ sustainability efforts in ‘AIDA Cares 2019.’