MSC Cruises has cut the first steel for its largest cruise ship to date, the first of the new World-class vessels, MSC Europa.
At 204,000-gross tons, MSC Europa will be MSC Cruises’ response to Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class and will be the second-largest class of cruise ship ever built.
The 5,400-guest cruise ship is being built at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in France and is scheduled to be delivered in 2022.
Codenamed PACBOAT, the research and development project focuses on the integration of a new fuel cell technology that will have an output power of 50KW and will produce electricity and heat using LNG.
“We are pleased to be able to support this highly innovative project, as it further demonstrates our commitment to contributing to the development of next-generation advanced environmental technology for the benefit of the entire industry,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, MSC Cruises. “This is a key element in our journey towards zero-emissions operations both at sea and ashore.”
The integration of a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) technology onboard a cruise ship is a world first and is the most efficient for high-power marine applications than the low-temperature Hydrogen-based Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) solutions, according to Chantiers de l’Atlantique.
The SOFC technology offers electrical efficiency up to 60 percent, and as the heat produced can be consumed on board, its total efficiency – heat and electricity – can be much higher, resulting in a direct reduction of energy consumption and therefore of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
This SOFC solution fueled by LNG would thus reduce emission of GHGs by about 30 percent compared with a conventional dual fuel LNG engine, with no emission of nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides or fine particles.
MSC Cruises has thus far kept details about its World-class ships close to its chest, but what we do know is that they’re likely to be homeported in Miami, where MSC is building a new mega-ship terminal, and they will offer a twin superstructure design like the Oasis-class.
The World-class ships’ futuristic “Y” shape structure will enable panoramic sea views and increase the proportion of balcony cabins. The ships’ G bow (vertically positioned at a 90 degree angle) has been designed to improve stability and hydrodynamics.
Other guest-centric innovations include family-friendly villages, a panoramic aft, and a glass pool lounge.