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Silversea 'Evolution' to use 100% fuel cell power in port, LNG for propulsion

In a major advance, Silversea Cruises' Project Evolution ships will use a trio of power sources including a fuel cell system, battery technology and dual fuel engines with LNG as the main fuel.

This hybrid solution, using fuel cell technology, allows the ship to be free of exhaust emissions while at port.

The first vessel, under construction at Meyer Werft, is due in summer 2023 — until today, a date had not been publicly announced.

'Significant leap forward'

'Silversea's newest ship class is a significant leap forward in our commitment to sustainable ship design and our journey to reduce our environmental footprint,' Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain said. 'We first announced our fuel cell ambitions several years ago. Through dedication and perseverance, we are now proud to introduce the first ship with large-scale fuel cell technology capable of achieving emission-free port operations.

'Incorporating fuel cells into our ships now is one example of how Royal Caribbean Group is preparing to use new technologies as we move to a non-carbon-based future,' Fain continued.

40% overall reduction in greenhouse gas emissions

The new hybrid technology not only helps in port, but also allows Project Evolution to achieve a 40% overall reduction in its greenhouse gas emissions per double occupancy when compared to Silversea's previous class of ships. Project Evolution is also projected to achieve an Energy Efficiency Design Index rating approximately 25% better than applicable International Maritime Organization requirements.

'Being at the forefront of sustainable shipping design and innovation is a testament to our team's drive for continuous improvement,' Silversea President and CEO Roberto Martinoli said. 'These advancements support our desire to showcase the world to our guests and to do so in a mindful and environmentally responsible way.'

Royal Caribbean said Project Evolution's full suite of initiatives, developed in partnership with Meyer Werft, will bring energy efficiency to a new level.

Hydrogen-based fuel cell system 

The hydrogen-based fuel cell technology will supplement the main power supply and carry the ship's total hotel load — up to four megawatts.

LNG propulsion emits less CO2 and 97% fewer particulates than normal fuel oil used on ships.

A bank of batteries will support optimizing the overall ship power system, saving fuel.

In addition, a newly developed Micro Auto Gasification System reduces on-board waste volume, resulting in lower incineration emissions.