After being the first cruise company to use LNG on its cruise ships, Costa Group, part of Carnival Corporation, is taking a next step through a partnership with Proman. Together they seek to drive further the implementation of methanol as a marine fuel for the cruise industry.

Costa Group, part of Carnival Corporation, is one of Europe’s leading cruise operator with its two brands Costa Cruises and AIDA Cruises. Proman is a methanol producer.

The partnership aims to accelerate the energy transition and decarbonisation of the existing fleet by enhancing the supply of sustainable methanol, paving the way for the retrofitting of existing vessels to operate on clean fuel, as well as investment in further methanol-fuelled new builds.

Also read: AIDA Cruises plans to become climate-neutral by 2040

Methanol as a transition pathway

Costa sees potential in methanol as a cleaner-burning fuel, which virtually eliminates airborne pollutants such as particulate matter and sulphur oxides and is widely available and increasingly produced via lower-carbon, biogenic or hydrogen-based pathways. When used in fuel cells, methanol has the potential to allow for lifecycle zero emissions in the near future.

Methanol is emerging as a leading alternative fuel to meet GHG reduction goals due to its easy-to-handle properties, making it attractive for both new builds and for refitting existing ships. As one of the most widely traded chemical commodities, the infrastructure for ship supply could be adapted from existing infrastructure.

All forms of methanol, whether natural-gas based, low-carbon or renewable, can be blended regardless of production pathways. It therefore enables a reliable transition pathway from today to fully GHG neutral cruise ships in near future, states Costa.

‘The technology to retrofit a vessel to accept methanol as a fuel is available today,’ says Tim Cornelius, Proman’s Managing Director of Corporate Development. ‘Our methanol products can facilitate the transition to low carbon intensity fuels. Methanol-powered vessels have a proven track record of reducing and eliminating major greenhouse gas emissions, delivering immediate air quality improvements around major ports and shipping lanes.’

From LNG to methanol

Costa Group was also the first to introduce liquefied natural gas (LNG) propulsion for emission reduction with four ships already in service in the Costa Group fleet. The majority of Costa Group ships are equipped with shore power capabilities to be zero emissions in ports where the technology is available, and the company has also performed the first tests on biofuels.

Dr. Christoph Schladoer, VP Decarbonisation Costa Group: ‘We are reducing the carbon footprint of our fleet while at port and at sea, investing in advanced environmental technologies and partnering with companies such as Proman who share a passion for sustainable energy transition. By enabling cruise ships to use methanol as a propulsion fuel, Costa follows the ambition to take the next big step towards GHG neutral operations of our fleet by 2050.’

Also read: Coral Methane supplies LNG to AIDAnova