Costa is banking on methanol fuel to help decarbonize the cruise sector

Europe’s leading cruise operator Costa has announced plans to explore the use of methanol fuel to help reduce the cruise sector’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The Costa Group, part of Carnival Corporation, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Swiss-based methanol producer Proman, aiming to increase the supply of sustainable methanol to enable retrofitting of existing ships and investments in newbuilds that run on methanol.

Methanol fuel has emerged as a promising alternative fuel in the maritime energy transition because it is easy to handle, burns cleaner and is widely available. It can also be integrated into existing infrastructure and blended regardless of its production route, whether natural gas-based, low-carbon or renewable.

“The technology to retrofit a ship to accept methanol as a fuel is available today,” said Tim Cornelius, Proman’s managing director of corporate development. “Our methanol products can facilitate the transition to low-carbon intensity fuels. Methanol fueled vessels have a proven track record of reducing and eliminating key greenhouse gas emissions and providing immediate air quality improvements in major ports and shipping lanes. We look forward to bringing our expertise along the entire methanol value chain to fulfill Costa Group’s ambitious ambitions.”

The letter of intent means that Costa brands Costa Cruises and AIDA Cruises could one day soon have ships, and possibly even newbuilds, capable of running on the cleaner-burning fuel.

Costa was previously an early adopter with the introduction of LNG fuel AIDAnova, the world’s first cruise ship capable of running entirely on LNG, now has four ships in its fleet currently running on the fuel. Most Costa Group ships are equipped with shore power to eliminate emissions in ports where the technology is available. It is also conducting its first tests on biofuels.

“We are reducing our fleet’s carbon footprint in port and at sea, investing in advanced environmental technologies and working with companies like Proman who share a passion for a sustainable energy transition,” said Dr. Christoph Schladoer, VP Decarbonization Costa Group. “By enabling cruise ships to use methanol as a propulsion fuel, Costa aims to take the next big step toward making our fleet carbon-neutral by 2050.”

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