Fuel Cell Systems Discussed as MSC’s Newest Cruise Ship Floats Out

MSC World Europa first LNG French built cruise ship with fuel cells
Float out began on December 2 for the LNG-powered MSC World Europa (MSC Cruises)

Published Dec 2, 2021 8:08 PM by The Maritime Executive

MSC Cruises and Chantiers de l'Atlantique celebrated the beginning of the float out for the company’s newest and most technologically advanced cruise ship today, along with the placing of the first keel block for the company’s next cruise ship. Both of the ships will use liquified natural gas, making them the first ships built both in France and for MSC Cruises to operate on LNG, as well as outfitted with other new environmental technologies.

As part of the launching ceremony, MSC and the shipyard discussed in more detail the plans to fit a test fuel cell system aboard the new cruise ship, the MSC World Europa. The system is seen as a demonstration that will help to advance fuel cell technology. The system, based on technology from Bloom Energy, is a Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) that will be made up of two 75kW modules. The fuel cells using LNG will produce electricity generated by the electrochemical reactions.

Chantiers de l'Atlantique described the SOFC cell saying that they use ceramic materials allowing operations at high temperature which ensures high electrical efficiency. They are also recovering the heath from the exhaust, which they noted could lead to energy yields in the long term close to 90 percent. Employing the SOFC solution they believe will also make it possible to reduce GHG emissions by around 30 percent compared to the conventional dual-fuel engines currently fitted to ships powered by LNG. The shipyard also reported that the technology will be compatible with many fuels, ranging from LNG to methane, methanol, ammonia, and hydrogen, as future fuels become available.

“I am proud that we have been able to achieve, with Chantiers de l'Atlantique as partners, the launch of these new LNG vessels - the first ever built in France,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, MSC Cruises during today’s ceremonies. “They will also integrate fuel cells as new pilot technologies to make these ships even more efficient. We are determined to take new steps and we know that we can count on the continued support of our suppliers, partners, and governments to jointly build an ever more sustainable industry.”

In addition to the fuel cells, the MSC World Europa uses other technologies including selective catalytic reduction systems, shore-to-ship power connectivity, advanced wastewater treatment systems, and an underwater radiated noise management system to reduce its environmental impact. MSC also reports that it will explore the use of bio and synthetic forms of LNG as they become available to the market.


Rendering of the MSC World Europa due to enter service in December 2022 (MSC Cruises)


The MSC World Europa also holds several other distinctions, including being the longest and largest cruise ship MSC has built. At 1,060 feet in length, the ship’s gross tonnage will be 205,700 GT, meaning the class follows Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis Class and rivals Genting’s Dream Class as among the largest cruise ships in the world. The MSC World Europa will have a maximum passenger capacity of 6,334 along with a crew of over 1,400. 

There will be a broad range of new passenger amenities on the ship, including six pools and 14 whirlpools, along with a 340-foot-long promenade that will be partially indoors and partially open air. The cruise ship will have a total of 13 dining venues, including six specialty restaurants, and over 2,000 cabins in 19 different categories. A total of 65 percent of the cabins will have balconies.

The float out of the MSC World Europa began today after the keel laying ceremony for the MSC Euribia, an additional ship in a prior class that however is also being outfitted to run on LNG. The MSC World Europa is being moved to the fitting out dock with delivery scheduled for November 2022. She will debut sailing from Dubai before repositioning to the Mediterranean in the summer of 2023. The MSC Euribia is scheduled for delivery in 2023 while work on the second cruise ship in the World Class is due to begin construction in 2023.


MSC World Europa (Chantiers de l'Atlantique)


MSC World Europa has two 300 m3 LNG tanks (Chantiers de l'Atlantique)