Costa Group, part of the Carnival Corporation & plc, has announced the creation of a dedicated decarbonisation department within its Carnival Maritime unit based in Hamburg.

The launch of this new department the company, which is behind the Costa Cruises and AIDA Cruises brands, aims to focus on its goal of zero emission cruising.

The newly established department, which brings the Group’s scientific and technical expertise under one roof, will be responsible for developing and implementing the strategy for achieving the decarbonisation ambitions of the Costa and AIDA fleets, by 2050. The effort will have a strong focus on research and development, energy management and data analytics to develop the roadmap that will lead to zero emission ship operations.

The team will also work to further improve the environmental performance of its existing fleet, working in synergy with the sustainability departments of the Costa and AIDA brands. The department will study and test new technologies, such as batteries, fuel cells, solar and wind power.

Next-generation exhaust gas cleaning systems are currently being developed with partners to allow lower emission levels. Over time, developments in the application of alternative fuels on a large scale, including bio-fuels (liquefied bio-gas and bio-diesel), methanol, ammonia and hydrogen fuels, will allow the ships to be flexible on the use of low-carbon energy. Solutions are being designed to meet requirements for all the ships to be able to store and utilise new-generation fuels.

“Addressing climate change requires a great effort and commitment, and we believe that the creation of our new dedicated task force is a key asset to accelerate the development of new concepts that can lead us to reach carbon neutral operations by 2050”, said Michael Thamm, Group CEO, Costa Group and Carnival Asia.

“To meet this challenge, we intend to build collaborations and partnerships with other players in the value chain to continue our pioneering role within the cruise industry. We will also continue to work in close cooperation with governments to make sure that Europe can lead the way to sustainable cruising.”

Over the years, Costa Group has been leading sustainable innovation for the cruise industry. The company was the first to introduce LNG propulsion – the most advanced fuel technology available to reduce emissions – with four ships being already in service in the Costa Group fleet. Moreover, the majority of the ships in the fleet are equipped with shore power capabilities to be zero emission in ports, where this technology is available.

Currently, Costa Group is ready to install the biggest lithium-ion battery storage system on the cruise ship AIDAprima by the summer. Moreover, fuel cells powered by hydrogen derived from methanol are being currently installed on the AIDAnova to run the first tests this summer. With Ecospray, the Italian-based company of which Costa is shareholder, Costa Group is also working on carbon capture experimental projects.

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