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Portsmouth showcase demonstrates potential of alternative fuels for cruise ships

By Laurence Mcclenaghan
6 June 2022

Innovate UK funded research consortium has created two fuel flexible solution they say will reduce carbon emissions at sea, one by up to 47% the second by 37% when compared to conventional fuels.

The Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition (CMDC) recently held a showcase in Portsmouth to demonstrate the developments. The event marked the end of phase one of trials.

A consortium involving Ceres, GE Power Conversion, MSC Cruise Management UK and Lloyd’s Register has confirmed the feasibility of using a 10MW fuel cell power installation on a large vessel to replace diesel-fuelled generators.

Run on natural gas, it is predicted to deliver a 47% reduction in CO2 emissions and eliminate NOx almost entirely from the exhaust stream, when operated over the same energy demand profile.

The UK Department for Transport and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK invested £23 million in 55 projects to accelerate development, design, and manufacture of zero-emission vessels in British shipyards by 2025.

GE Power Conversion’s Managing Director in the UK, Andy Cooper, said: “Industry is investing in ‘clean ship’ and ‘clean port’ technology readiness, but it’s really important we work with customers on their operational needs if the path to net-zero is to be viable. Congratulations to the teams on making impressive progress towards potential commercialization”.

The second project, involving Carnival UK, Shell, Lloyd’s Register and the University of Southampton, replaced conventional diesel generators on state-of-the-art cruise vessels with ones powered by liquefied natural gas.

Caroline Hargrove, Chief Technology Officer of Ceres commented: “The Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition has been an invaluable process for the Ceres team, and we have welcomed the opportunity to work with so many leading operators and engineers from the global maritime industry.

"We believe these findings are an important step in validating the compatibility of solid oxide technology with maritime applications and we await the second phase of the Competition to further demonstrate a safe and feasible transition pathway for the shipping industry to reach net-zero emissions in a manner aligned with the UK Clean Maritime Plan and legally binding national and international global climate change targets.”

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