AIDA is widely regarded as one of the ‘first-moves’ and innovators in terms of moving towards LNG as a fuel for their fleet, can you tell us a little more about what were the key drivers in converting and purchasing LNG fuelled ships?
LNG is the cleanest fossil fuel available for operating ships as of now. We firmly believe that LNG is a responsible and sustainable way to power ships in the future.
Using LNG makes an important contribution to environmental protection and health, for compared to using conventional marine diesel with 0.1% sulfur content, emissions are significantly reduced even further by using LNG. Sulfur oxides and soot particles can be prevented completely. Nitrogen oxide emissions are reduced by up to 80% and CO2 emissions are reduced by 20%. With AIDAprima, we are the first cruise line in the world to supply a cruise ship with low-emission LNG for operation in port. I am convinced that our path is also a clear signal to the ports and LNG producers to invest in the necessary infrastructure.
Tell us a little bit about the AIDAprima vessel, which we understand has a lot of technical firsts and thus makes it one of the greenest cruise ships afloat.
AIDAprima is the world’s first cruise ship to feature a dual-fuel engine and can be operated with low-emission liquefied natural gas (LNG) during the time spent docked at port. It also features two shorepower suppliers and has a comprehensive exhaust gas treatment system on-board which reduces soot particles, to be equipped with the forms of low-emission energy generation that are technically available on-board today. Its striking design with a perpendicular bow and optimized hull lines ensures improved hydrodynamics. Further new features aimed at reducing propulsion is energy include state-of-the-art pod drives and the innovative MALS technology. Thanks to this, AIDAprima is the first cruise ship to glide on a carpet of air bubbles with very little friction.
In terms of LNG consumption, how much LNG would you imagine AIDAprima’s current LNG fuelled fleet would require?
As of now we only operate AIDAprima with LNG during layovers in all ports along her route which are Hamburg, Southampton, Le Havre, Zeebruegge and Rotterdam.
By an estimated hotel load of 60-65% during port operation, we need approximately 1150 kg/h LNG for our dual-fuel engine ME2 and approximately 60 kg/h for the auxiliary boiler.
That means we need around 12.100 kg for 10h operation of the ship in port.
What are your aspirations for LNG (within AIDA) moving forward?
With the next generation of AIDA ships which are being built at Meyer Yard in Papenburg, Germany, and which will be put into service from 2019 onwards, AIDA will go one step further. Under the concept of “Green Cruising” we will operate those ships by 100% with low-emission LNG. With LNG from “Power to Gas”, even a low-CO2 would be a possibility: Buy using water electrolysis with partially downstream methanation by implementing green power (excess wind or solar power). a fuel gas is produced.
What were the biggest challenges in converting to LNG and in purchasing your LNG fuelled ships?
Using LNG on a cruise ship is a first in the industry. Leading a pilot project, we also had to face some challenges. The technical installations of a LNG system on a cruise ship and respective safety systems were demanding. The dual-fuel-technology also had an impact on the whole ship design as it needs a lot of space. And last but not least, there were no common rules and regulations to operate a cruise ship with LNG in port. These had to be developed first.
Dr. Monika Griefahn, Chief Sustainability Officer at AIDA Cruises will be speaking at the 3rd Annual LNG Fuels Summit taking place on the 13-15 June 2017.