A recent news article published in the Riviera speaks about the trends that will shape 2023 in Passenger Ship Technology.
Hydrogen and batteries
Hydrogen and batteries are expected to make even greater inroads into the ferry and cruise sectors in 2023, while there will be a focus on the sustainability of ships’ interiors and standardisation.
Hydrogen has gained momentum in the cruise ship industry and its use looks set to ramp up in 2023.
New initiatives will help boost supply. For example, government body Enova is planning to establish five hydrogen hubs on the Norwegian coast. This, tied in with the zero-emissions regulations coming into effect in Norway’s world-heritage fjords in 2026 which decree that zero emissions are mandatory, means hydrogen, with its promise of supply, will be an attractive option for passenger ships.
A concrete example is the Northern Xplorer zero-emissions luxury cruise concept, based on hydrogen and battery technology. Its founder Rolf Sandvik believes Enova’s pledge for hydrogen hubs will help make the supply his cruise ships need ready for when they launch.
Elsewhere, in 2022 class society RINA launched an LNG and hydrogen concept within the cruise market to allow operators to get to zero emissions. This could be a milestone for cruise ships – it is produced by LNG, which is already used by numerous cruise ships. It is also scalable, allowing operators to ramp up hydrogen production over time.
Add in the hugely important cost factor – hydrogen prices have plunged by almost 60%, which is set to continue as more hubs open – and the cruise industry is ripe for hydrogen.
The trend to use batteries within the cruise and ferry industries is set to continue growing. UK industry association Discover Ferries provided a snapshot of the growth of hybrid electric ferries –17 new fuel-efficient, hybrid-powered ferries will be in service within the next five years in the UK. Most of these will use batteries.
Furthermore, both the cruise and ferry industries are increasing their efforts to bring shore power to their vessels. CLIA members have committed to using shore power as soon as possible and at least by 2025, and Interferry chief executive Mike Corrigan told PST ensuring onshore power is available is the is the number one priority for the ferry industry association.
Moving to standardisation
The drive to reach net zero has had a knock-on impact on standardising ferry fleets. Standardisation means vessels can be adapted more easily to different fuel requirements. An example is the E-Flexer series being built by Stena RoRo.
Having the E-Flexer base means Stena RoRo has been able to modify the vessels to clients’ needs. This series of vessels also shows the path taken within alternative fuels – they have progressed from conventional propulsion with scrubbers to LNG dual fuel to LNG dual-fuel battery-hybrid operation. Now the company is researching different fuel options, such as dual-fuel methanol and ammonia engines.
The standard E-Flexer base has no doubt aided the progression. There are also the considerable benefits of flexibility, cost savings and easier maintenance associated with standardising fleets. A major strategy of BC Ferries is standardisation. Other operators are bound to follow.
Greening the interiors
The passenger ship industry’s drive to green its fleets through alternative propulsion and alternative fuels is well documented – and now there is a rapidly growing push to make ship interiors as sustainable as possible. This drive is highlighted by the recent Cruise Ship Interiors Expo Europe (CSIE) in London, which focused on sustainability. As well as a challenge, there will be plentiful opportunities for the industry, with new innovations here already leading the way. An example was seen at CSIE: Holland America and Dansk Wilton have joined forces on a carpet recycling pilot project – and are calling for industry collaboration to take this to the next level.
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