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Search for alternative fuels means ‘thinking big,’ says MSC Cruises’ Director of Sustainability, Linden Coppell

The CHEK Consortium will look at hydrogen as an alternative fuel
With shipping’s continuing drive to find alternative fuels, hydrogen is high on the agenda.

‘The project we’re working on is looking at hydrogen,’ explained Linden Coppell, director of sustainability, MSC Cruises, ‘We need to understand more about it but we also need to make sure there’s a distribution and supply [network], and all those elements need to come together.’

Coppell’s revelation alludes to the recent announcement  of MSC Cruises’ participation in the CHEK ConsortiumDecarbonising Shipping by enabling Key Technology – led by Finland’s University of Vaasa, which aims to explore energy technologies and ship design to promote low-carbon maritime operations.

Global experts

Made up of global experts, the Consortium unites the World Maritime University, Wärtsilä, Cargill, Lloyds Register, Silverstream Technologies, Hasytec, Deltamarin, Climeon and BAR Technologies who will investigate hydrogen as a possible alternative fuel.  

‘It starts officially in a few months' time. It’s not a case of us getting together and sitting around a room chatting… It’s very much technology driven. It’s not thinking about ideas, it’s about putting ideas into practice,’ Coppell added.

‘We have a lot of waste on the ships – are we capable of turning that into a viable form of energy? It’s testing and looking to see if it genuinely achieves emission reductions … Looking at the technologies and how they integrate together, and if we can simulate those improvements.

‘In some cases it will be a lab scale, in other cases we’re actually putting that technology on ships and tracking it for many months, looking at what the results are and feeding it all back.’

Industry-wide access to information

As well as working to make the information available industry-wide, the project could enable the European Commission to realize its ambition of making Europe the first continent with a carbon neutral impact. ‘We can make a significant contribution towards regional goals,’ Coppell said. ‘It is helped by projects such as CHEK. And these are necessary to really help drive new technologies forward to make these commercially viable. We need to think big…’

The full version of this interview will appear in the Spring 2021 issue of Seatrade Cruise Review.