Royal Caribbean Group will use three power sources on the next class of ships: fuel cell, battery, dual fuel engines

Royal Caribbean Group’s new class of ships known as ‘Project Evolution’, due to debut in the summer of 2023, will operate using three power sources, including a fuel cell system, battery technology and dual fuel engines using liquefied natural gas (LNG) as the primary fuel. This tribrid solution with the hydrogen fuel cell system allows the ship to be free of local emissions when in port.

We first announced our fuel cell ambitions several years ago. Thanks to our dedication and perseverance, we are now proud to present the first vessel with large-scale fuel cell technology capable of performing emissions-free port operations.

—Richard Fain, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean Group

The new technology not only helps in the port, but also allows Project Evolution to achieve an overall reduction of 40% of its greenhouse gas emissions per double occupancy compared to the brand’s previous class of ships. The class of ship is also expected to achieve an Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) approximately 25% higher than applicable International Maritime Organization (IMO) requirements.

Project Evolution’s comprehensive suite of initiatives, developed in partnership with the Meyer Werft shipyard, will take energy efficiency to a new level and include both new initiatives and previously introduced successful features such as:

  • Fuel cell system – this hydrogen-based technology will supplement the main electrical supply and carry the total hotel load of the ship – up to four megawatts – the first large-scale offshore fuel cell installation in the cruise industry.

  • LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) – cleaner combustion fuel, propulsion systems powered by LNG emit less CO2 and 97% less particulate matter than normal fuel oil used on ships.

  • Drums – a battery bank supports the optimization of the ship’s overall power system, thus saving fuel.

  • Waste to energy – The new automatic micro-gasification system (MAGS) reduces the volume of waste on board, which reduces incineration emissions.

  • Progress towards carbon neutral construction – in partnership with the Meyer Werft shipyard, Project Evolution is carefully designed and built taking into account the carbon footprint of shipbuilding and creating a path towards overall reduction.

Rosemary C. Kearney