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Friday, November 1, 2019 

As part of the celebration of cutting the first steel for the first LNG-Powered cruise vessel to be built in France, operator MSC and builder Chantiers de l’Atlantique unveiled a new R&D project named PACBOAT.

The project focuses on the integration of a new fuel cell technology demonstrator onboard MSC Europa, the first of four MSC Cruises’ World Class of vessels, due for delivery in 2022. This demonstrator, with an output power of 50KW, will produce electricity and heat using LNG. Led by Chantiers de l’Atlantique, PACBOAT is based on a cutting-edge SOFC technology developed and patented by French public research body CEA. It is funded by the French government’s Investments for the Future Program (PIA) and supported by ADEME, the French Environment and Energy Management Agency. Additionally, it is part of the Ecorizon R&D program dedicated to the energy and environmental efficiency of ships and launched in 2008 by Chantiers de l’Atlantique. Entrepose Group, a France based international contractor that designs, builds and operates production, transport and storage infrastructures for the oil & gas and other energy markets, will ensure the design and the construction of the demonstrator, whose installation and operation will be approved by Bureau Veritas.

Together with the other solutions developed under the Ecorizon program of Chantiers de l’Atlantique, this solution will make it possible to exceed the future regulatory requirements for emissions for new ships by 2030 and 2050. It is an important technological breakthrough in 'zero-emission' ships that will meet the aim of the European Commission to make Europe the first continent with a carbon neutral impact.

The Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) technology operates at very high temperature (~ 750 ° C), and is said to be the most efficient for high-power marine applications. SOFC technology offers electrical efficiency up to 60%, and as the heat produced can be consumed on board, its total efficiency – heat and electricity – can be much higher, resulting in a direct reduction of energy consumption and therefore of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The SOFC solution fuelled by LNG would reduce emission of GHGs by about 30% compared with a conventional dual fuel LNG engine, with no emission of nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides or fine particles. In addition, it offers the advantage of being compatible with many fuels (LNG/methane, methanol, ammonia, hydrogen, etc.), and thus with their future low carbon versions.

Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises, said: “We are pleased to be able to support this highly innovative project, as it further demonstrates our commitment to contributing to the development of next-generation advanced environmental technology for the benefit of the entire industry. This is a key element in our journey towards zero-emissions operations both at sea and ashore.”

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