Ship part

Holland America Line successfully tests biofuels on cruise ship

Earlier this month, Holland America Line successfully completed the first-ever long-term 100% biofuel test on board an operating cruise ship, MS Volendamwhile the ship was positioned in Rotterdam.

The test, which started with mixed fuels but progressed to full use of biofuels, lasted 20 days and showed very promising results in reducing cruise ship emissions.

Biofuels used on Volendam

The test on board Volendam was carried out in partnership with GoodFuels, a leading producer and supplier of sustainable biofuels for the transport industry, and Wärtsilä, a world leader in power and propulsion technologies for the marine market.

The biofuels used come from raw materials certified as 100% waste or residue. This means the fuel does not create new land use problems, compete with agricultural food production, or contribute to deforestation.

The 20-day test started at the end of August and ended on September 7, 2022. For the first five days, a mixture of 30% biofuel and 70% marine gas oil (MGO) was used in one of the Volendammain auxiliary engines. For the remaining 15 days, the ship used only biofuels.

After analyzing the data collected during the test periods, GoodFuels determined that there was a 78% decrease in lifecycle carbon dioxide emissions over the last 15 days of the test compared to emissions marine gas oil.

Holland America Volendam

This extremely positive result represents a promising step towards cleaner and more sustainable fuel for the cruise industry.

“We were thrilled to have this opportunity to test a next-generation fuel resource on a Holland America Line vessel, and we are very encouraged by the results,” said Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line.

“As part of our commitment to sustainability, we have always sought cutting-edge solutions to environmental challenges that will help us achieve Carnival Corporation’s sustainability goals for decades to come.”

Although this is only the first test of using biofuels on board an active cruise ship, such good results can probably be applied to further testing and wider use of these alternative fuels.

“Our extensive work testing alternative marine fuels is central to our efforts to define viable decarbonization options for our customers,” said Ricardo Opperman, managing director of Wärtsilä North America Inc.

“We are continually developing our engine technology to accept and maintain levels of operational and environmental efficiency with various future fuels, including biofuels. These sea trials with 100% biofuel will be particularly important – for Carnival Corporation, for Goodfuels, for Wärtsilä and for the industry as a whole.

Why this ship?

At the time of the test, the Rotterdam class MS Volendam was moored in Rotterdam, the second largest city in the Netherlands, hosting refugees from Ukraine in accordance with previous charter agreements with the city. It is not known whether any refugees remained on board during the test.

Although biofuel trials have been carried out on large diesel engines at shore-based research facilities and on some cargo ships, these trials with Volendam represented the first live tests on working cruise ships.

Volendam was selected for the test because it was already located in Rotterdam, one of the global ports where GoodFuels operates the infrastructure needed to provide biofuel services. This meant that there was no need to remove a ship from service or move it to another port, and the ship could perform the test during regular operations.

Holland America Volendam
Courtesy of Holland America Line

For crew members on board, there is no significant difference in handling regular fuel oil versus biofuel. Indeed, the “drop-in” biofuel tested on Volendam requires no shipboard refitting or special equipment, making it particularly attractive as an alternative fuel.

While this is the first full-scale biofuel test on an operating cruise ship, it is not the Carnival Corporation family’s first global biofuel test. AIDA Cruises performed a biofuel blend test with AIDAprima in Julyalso in partnership with Goodfuels and also in Rotterdam.

Volendam has now completed not only the biofuel test, but also its charter with the city of Rotterdam.

At last report, the ship was heading to Malaga, Spain, an intermediate stop on the way to Trieste, Italy, where the ship will embark cruise passengers for a 28-night Holy Land cruise, which passengers will be able to enjoy in different segments. smaller if they prefer. .

Volendam can accommodate up to 1,432 guests, with approximately 630 international crew members on board. In November, the ship will reposition to Fort Lauderdale for a winter of Caribbean and South American itineraries, before heading to Vancouver for the 2023 Alaska cruise season.

Volendam cruise ship