Back to the Future: MSC World Europa Behind-the-Scenes Tech Tour


The newest ship in the fleet This is MSC Cruises’ first ship to run on LNG and also features fuel cell demonstration technology, a first test application in a real-time marine environment on a cruise ship.

First glimpse of fuel cell technology

Seatrade Cruise News was among the first media to have the opportunity to see some of the technology on board up close, mostly located below decks, with the exception of the fuel cell technology demonstrator which, as a model plug and play, is located above any accessible public area near the funnel.

The size of a large container, the fuel cell is made up of two sections.

Electrochemical reaction

Captain Minas Myrtidis, Vice President of Environmental Operations and Compliance at MSC Cruise Management (UK), explained how it works in layman’s language: “It works on a chemical process…LNG goes through a process of thermal reforming to the cell through the anode, then it separates into hydrogen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and steam.At the cathode side there is air containing oxygen and this and the four elements interact together to create oxide irons which carry electricity.This process takes place in the anode, then they pass through the cathode and produce an electric current through an electrical circuit.

MSC World Europa’s fuel cell generates a very small capacity of the hotel’s daily needs, approximately 150 kW of electricity, and is integrated on board the ship to support the operation of in-cabin HVAC systems and heat the water. “It’s a very small part of our daily needs if you compare the hotel load to around 8-10 MW at any given time, but it allows us to test and monitor the performance of the technology,” Michele Francioni , SVP cost process optimization and improvement at MSC Cruises.

Marine test

Over the next six months, MSC will be able to test and record fuel cell efficiency and performance on board a ship at sea, including outside temperature, climate and weather conditions. sea. “It has never been tested in a real-time marine environment,” Francioni commented.

He added: “We are able to produce electricity more efficiently compared to the way it is produced in a traditional internal combustion engine and without having the problems associated with combustion… acts purely from an electrochemical reaction.

“The flexibility offered by solid oxide fuel cell technology allows us to run it on LNG, hydrogen or methanol depending on what becomes available in the port,” added Linden Coppell, Vice President sustainability and ESG of the cruise line.

The plan would be to develop future new builds to increase capacity while continuously monitoring fuel cell performance at sea.

LR: control on the fuel cell; Linden Coppell in the engine room; thousands of crushed drink cans and wine bottles ready to be unloaded

Bridge with a view

Staying above the board, Capt Marco Massa greeted us on deck – arguably offering the best view of Doha’s cityscape with its 180 degree floor to ceiling windows.

Housing all the latest safety and navigational technology, Capt Massa explained that there are no longer paper charts on board, only computerized navigational charts (with computerized backup) which can be updated daily if required through software upgrades.

Going deep into the lower decks, we were able to take a look at the ship’s five Wartsila engines: two running on LNG and the others on traditional marine fuel, before heading to the waste sorting area to see the aluminum can and glass crushers in action.

Bureau Veritas 12 Golden Pearls

Bureau Veritas awarded MSC World Europa its 12 Golden Pearls award for sustainability and environmental management. The 215,863 GT vessel, 47 meters wide with 2,626 cabins, also includes a selective catalytic reduction system, anti-fouling paints, advanced sewage treatment plants, LED lighting, a desalination plant, a Intelligent HVAC, trim optimization (aided by the use of hundreds of onboard sensors), plus the latest water recycling technology to purify sewage, a marine ballast water treatment system and propellers to reduce underwater noise and its impact on marine life.

A final stop was at the engine room control center and a meeting with the chief engineer, Antonino Gargiulo.

Surrounded by wall-to-wall computer screens, he explained that MSC World Europa took LNG from Marseille on the shipyard’s recent trip to Qatar and will run on LNG for part of the five weeks the ships will be berthed at Doha.

Unfortunately, there is no electrical connectivity at dockside in Doha to make full use of the ship’s latest technology for the duration of the ship’s time in port while being used as a floating hotel for football fans visiting Qatar. for the World Cup.

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