Carnival Cruise Brand Begins Using Biofuels

Carnival cruise brand AIDA Cruises has now started using biofuels for the first time, starting with the AIDAprima cruise ship.

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Building on a history of investments to make cruises more sustainable, AIDA became the first major cruise line to use a biofuel blend for powering a cruise ship.

The German cruise line has been working with a range of partners to develop innovative solutions toward its goal of net carbon neutral operations.

AIDAprima had the honor of becoming the first cruise ship that will run on a blend of marine biofuel, which consists of a mix of 100% raw natural materials and marine gas oil. 

AIDAprima sets course to carbon-neutral operations

During bunkering operations in the port of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, AIDAprima became the first cruise vessel sailing for a major cruise operator to take on marine biofuel as its primary fuel. 

The fuel is a blend of marine biofuel, which is made from 100 percent sustainable raw materials such as waste cooking oil and marine gas oil (MGO), produced by Dutch biofuel pioneer GoodFuels.

The occasion marks an important point in the cruise industry’s efforts to become net carbon neutral by 2050. AIDA Cruises aims to reach that goal already by 2040 by working with a multitude of partners working on more sustainable solutions for cleaner cruise ships.

AIDAprima Cruise Ship
Photo Courtesy: AIDA Cruises

Felix Eichhorn, President AIDA Cruises: “We continue to actively explore all opportunities to decarbonize our fleet while advancing efficiency in line with international carbon intensity reduction targets.

With the successful start of biofuel usage, we have proven that gradual decarbonization is possible even on ships already in service. An important prerequisite for us as a cruise line to be able to use it is that it becomes widely available on an industrial scale and at marketable prices.”

The fuels made by GoodFuels are certified sustainable and virtually free of sulfur oxides and offer CO2 reductions of 80 to 90 percent compared to fossil fuels. The fuel is nearly equivalent in its function to oil-derived fuels and can be used in main engines without the need for modifications to any of the onboard systems. 

Commenting on the partnership, Dirk Kronemeijer, CEO of GoodFuels, said: “This first bio-bunkering with AIDA Cruises marks an exciting step forward on the cruise industry’s decarbonization pathway, demonstrating that our sustainable biofuels are a safe, technically viable, and convenient option to drastically cut down emissions from passenger vessels.”

Biofuels, Fuel cells, And Shore Power

It’s not just biofuels where AIDA is developing new solutions to the carbon emission problem that cruise lines have been criticized on for many years. With the entire industry aiming for carbon-neutral operations by 2050, solutions are indeed needed. 

AIDAprima Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: nikolpetr / Shutterstock

AIDA has already installed a first-of-its-kind fuel cell onboard the 183,858 gross tons AIDAnova, an Excellence-class cruise ship, which runs on hydrogen obtained from methanol. This also opens up the possibility of expanding the use of fuel cells to sister ships such as Carnival Cruise Line’s Mardi Gras

The fuel cells are also designed to have a far longer useful life than, say, cells intended for use in cars, making them a viable option onboard cruise ships. 

For AIDAprima, the cruise line has commissioned what is currently the largest battery storage system in cruise shipping with a capacity of ten-megawatt hours. Furthermore, AIDA Cruises is also placing increased focus on the expansion and increased use of shore power while in port.

The aim is now to make Biofuels available in more ports besides Rotterdam, with the purpose of it being a globally available fuel, not just for cruise ships but the entire shipping industry. 

AIDAprima Cruise Ship

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