Cruise ships are one of the most compact carbon ways to travel. They are also one of the fastest-growing tourism sectors, with the number of cruise passengers almost doping over the past decade at a peak of 30 million in 2019.
However, cruise ships make up only a fraction of the world’s oceans, which are less than 1 percent, and oceans account for about 2.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Experts say while cruise lines are a small part of the international shipping industry, they uniquely positioned to drive innovation in reducing emissions across the industry. For example, their huge profit margins mean that they have the money to invest in alternative fuels and decarburization technologies that could later be deployed on large ships.
Lucien Demme is a chief environmental officer of TUI Cruises, a joint venture between TUI Group, the world’s largest German-based tour operator, and Royal Caribbean Cruises, the second largest in the world. TUI Cruises employs more than 7,000 people and operates seven ships on 80 routes worldwide.
DW’s environmental podcast “On the Green Fence” talks with Dom about how TUI Cruises plans to decarbonize its ships and reach its carbon capture target by 2050.
We want to reduce its relative emissions per passenger by 40% by 2025 compared to 2015. By 2030, we want to provide boats or routes with moderate carbon. Let us hope by 2050 we can have a neutral air conditioning cruise. However, we still do not know what technologies will be available on a larger scale, not only for the cruise industry but also for the entire maritime sector and its hundreds of thousands of ships. We do not have a solution for everyone. It will be a combination of many technologies. We know how these technologies apply from the coast, but we have to put them on board. This is one of the biggest challenges people tend to forget.
What is your fleet doing now?
In marine diesel and heavy fuel oil with scrubber and catalyst, so it can use with marine diesel from the exhaust side. Heavy fuel oil has removed more or less than the IMO 2020 regulations, which require all ships without exhaust gas treatment systems to use up to 0.5% sulfur or offshore diesel (MDO) fuel.
However, have you ordered two liquefied natural gas (LNG) vessels?
Yes, the former will be delivered in 2024 and the second in 2026. We are currently considering the option of providing fuel for these ships, not with conventional liquefied natural gas, but with bio-liquefied natural gas. We have many proposals on the table and now we need to assess whether it makes ecological and economic sense. However, liquefied natural gas is only a temporary solution.
LNG can only reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent, right.
In fact, it is a very optimistic figure. I think we need to put these ships in service and really measure carbon reduction. In addition, when you use fracking gas, it is not just greenhouse gas emissions; it destroys the completely sustainable transport goal. Some things are Toy Cruz’s “Don’t Go.”
Is it stone and twenty? Any gas on your boat?
For us, this is not an option. We still need to use some fossil LNG, but hopefully we can replace it with some bio-alternative LNG in a few years.
How do you use a battery?
Everyone is talking about batteries and electricity, but it does not make sense on a cruise because the batteries are too big and too heavy. This ship cannot do that.
However, is not that what Hattie Groten’s opponents do? Do not you have cameras on electric boats?
Compared to our products, they use many smaller boats on truly defined routes in Norway’s fjords. You can see what the regulations are doing there: Norway has declared Norway’s Fjord zero emission zone by 2026. As a result, the pressure is growing and many companies are struggling to find solutions, but especially in these areas. Hybrid boats may be able to run back and forth in fjords, but outside the ocean, they depend on traditional engine configurations.
According to its latest environmental report for 2019, it seems to be doing a good job of reducing food waste, reducing water consumption and reducing per capita emissions. However, global emissions continue to grow as their operations grow. Therefore, you did not really solve the overall problem of rising carbon dioxide levels.
Of course, in a fleet base, if you bring a new ship to a more efficient fleet, you have an advantage. As all companies struggle to address carbon emissions, you have to look closely at the relative and absolute carbon targets, and you will see that most companies have relative goals. Therefore, the biggest challenge to achieving these goals is absolute emission reduction. We can only do that by changing fuel.
There is a lot of research going on alternative fuels, but most of them still cannot expanded. What fuel will appear?
It is too early to tell, but I think we need to squeeze biofuels because we still have many regular ships out there. With a good mixing strategy, you can really reduce emissions, increase the number of decreases year after year, and adjust to where you need to be by 2030 or 2050.
How these biofuels are obtain and scale?
The recruitment question is why the experts here are a little reluctant. I think we need to find a solution to get fuel from the secondary products of the earth industry. I think there is great potential for waste use. The same goes for cars or aviation. For me the most important thing is that we need to find biofuels as injections for the entire transportation sector.