Royal Caribbean to Utilise Hydrogen Fuel Cell Tech in New LNG-Powered Vessels

Tuesday October 11, 2016

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCL) has announced that it will utlise hydrogen fuel cell technology to provide additional power on their new liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered Icon vessel class.

The two new vessels are said to be slated for delivery in the second quarters of 2022 and 2024 under an agreement with Finnish shipyard Meyer Turku Oy (Meyer Turku).

"There is a long lead time for Icon class, and we will use that time to work with Meyer Turku to adapt fuel cell technology for maritime use," said Harri Kulovaara, RCL chief of ship design.

Kulovaara notes that the company has been exploring options around fuel cells for nearly ten years, now believing the technology's development has progressed far enough to justify further investment.

"Fuel cells do not burn anything to produce power, so there are no emissions to harm the environment. They run very quietly, almost silently, and for that have attracted attention for military uses," explained RCL.

The comany says it is planning to begin testing the fuel cell technology on an existing ship next year, which will lead to further experimental projects of larger scale on the company's newbuild Oasis and Quantum class vessels, which are set to be built over the next few years.

Kulovaara suggests that there is a possibility that fuel cells can be utilised in a "significant way" to provide power the Icon ships' hotel functions, although, accompanying regulatory standards would also have to be developed for the technology.

In May, RCL made headlines following the delivery and maiden cruise of its newest vessel, Harmony of the Seas - the largest cruise ship in the world.