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MSC, Fincantieri, Snam partner on feasibility study for first oceangoing hydrogen-powered cruise ship

The Cruise Division of MSC Group, Fincantieri and Snam signed a memorandum of understanding to partner on a study that will assess the feasibility of designing and building the world’s first oceangoing cruise ship powered by hydrogen.

During the next 12 months the three companies will study key factors related to the development of oceangoing hydrogen-powered cruise ships. These include arranging ship spaces to accommodate H2 technologies and fuel cells, technical parameters of on-board systems, calculating the potential greenhouse gas emissions savings and a technical and economic analysis of hydrogen supply and infrastructure.

The cooperation will possibly be the object of future binding agreements to be discussed by all parties.

Green hydrogen

Green hydrogen can be produced without fossil fuels, using renewable energy to split water in a process called electrolysis and can therefore be emissions-free on a full lifecycle basis.

It can be used to generate electrical power through a fuel cell, emitting only water vapor and heat. This type of ‘green’ hydrogen holds great potential to contribute to the decarbonisation of the shipping industry, including cruising, whether in its pure form or as a hydrogen-derived fuel, said MSC which is working towards achieving net carbon neutral operations by 2050.

Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of the Cruise Division of MSC Group said: ‘As a company that has long made environmental sustainability its focus, we want to put ourselves at the forefront of the energy revolution for our sector and hydrogen can greatly contribute to this.’

Environmental commitments

He added: ‘However, today production levels remain low and hydrogen fuel is still far from being available at scale. With this project, we’re taking the lead to bring this promising technology to our fleet and the industry while sending the strongest possible signal to the market about how seriously we take our environmental commitments.’

Fincantieri CEO Giuseppe Bono said: ‘Every opportunity for new solutions and technologies is a source of growth for us. This one allows us to offer our customers the best of innovation to help minimize the environmental impact.’

‘Hydrogen could be a key enabler in achieving the target of net zero-emissions in shipping, accounting for approximately 3% of global CO2 emissions, as well as in all the hard to abate sectors,' Snam CEO Marco Alverà added.

Energy infrastructure company Snam ranks among Italy’s largest listed companies by market capitalisation with subsidiaries around the world. ‘We are committed to concrete initiatives for sustainable heavy transport — on road, rail and by sea — promoting the use of renewable gases such hydrogen and bioLNG,’ Alverà said.

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