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The new giant of the seas is born: the 'Icon of the Seas' is the largest cruise ship ever built and the 'cleanest'

The huge colossus of Royal Caribbean that the Finnish shipyard Meyer Turku is completing includes amazing systems to reduce fuel consumption and mitigate its impact on the marine environment

Royal Caribbean shipping company is finalizing the construction of the new 'Icon of the Seas' at Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland, the first cruise line ship with fuel cell technology and powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) which, after an investment of more than 2,000 million dollars (about 1,815 million euros) in its development, it will become the shipping company's most sustainable cruise to date.

The new giant of the seas represents a further step in the company's journey towards zero emissions, since the cleanest marine fuel known to date will make it possible to considerably reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere, which represents a 20% less greenhouse gas emissions than previous ships. In addition, it will have connection to the electrical grid on land, residual heat recovery systems, as well as multiple clean energy options that will allow the ship to get rid of the most possible emissions and solid waste produced on board.

"We have a responsibility to our planet to continue to evolve and make our ships as sustainable as possible, we must make sure we offer the best vacation, but do it responsibly," said Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Jason Liberty.

A plant will convert waste into energy
This new ship marks a step forward in Royal Caribbean's journey towards Destination Net Zero. In addition to being the cruise line's first ship to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and fuel cell technology, it also introduces a first-of-its-kind plant at sea that will convert waste into energy. LNG allows for a further reduction in overall emissions, virtually zero sulphur dioxide and particulates, and a significant reduction in nitrogen oxide production. By combining LNG with other advancements such as grounding or waste heat recovery systems reusing excess energy to help power the ship's operations, 'Icon' will mark the next step in Royal Caribbean's journey towards a cleaner energy, zero emissions future.

With all this, the shipping company maintains its commitment to sustainability, reducing energy consumption, purifying emissions, managing waste, and reducing plastics, which is essential to achieve a ‘bluer’ cruise industry and sustainable in the long term.

Microscopic bubbles to reduce hull friction
The 'Icon of the Seas' will be powered by six engines that will use liquefied natural gas to generate a total of 67,500 kilowatts of power to run the ship.
Backing the engine units will be an extensive fuel cell, a 'waste head capture' system capable of harnessing and reusing excess heat issued by the engines, as well as systems capable of producing power from waste from the passengers.

By having hybrid power, the almost 250,800-tonne ship can be connected to the electricity grid once docked, so as not to use fuel and minimize emissions. Shore power allows ships to shut down their main engines in ports which reduces emissions on land. This giant of the seas also incorporates other innovations Royal has been working on for decades, such as air lubrication, which sends billions of microscopic bubbles along the hull of the boat to reduce friction and reduce fuel consumption, or advanced waste heat recovery systems converting engine heat into additional energy to help ship operations (hot water for galleys, Jacuzzis, bathrooms). The ship will also produce 90% of the fresh water on board using a desalination plant.

With all these improvements and updates, the shipping company trusts the new generations of ships will be up to 20% more efficient from an energy point of view than their predecessors. This reflects the company's efforts to create increasingly sustainable cruises, according to their managers.

Source: Faro de Vigo