Evolution of Cruise ship power plants means lower emissions.

ByRick Deutsch

Evolution of Cruise ship power plants means lower emissions.

The focus over the last couple decades has been on the “carbon footprint” of the hundreds of cruise ships out on the oceans. This has led major cruise lines to focus more on what “comes out the tailpipe.”

Advances in the generation of needed energy at sea are now rolling out. A quick history. The days of the “tall” ships are long gone. The first cross-Atlantic ships were not used to haul people on vacations. They were mail delivery vehicles. The exploding migration to America drove folks to communicate via letters well before the age of the telegraph and radio. British ships were dubbed “RMS” – meaning Royal Mail Ship.

Soon, coal fired steam engines made for quicker mail delivery. The generated steam would expand and turn large cylinders or turbines that led to the propellers at the back. Occasionally, a person or two could take passage for a fee. The idea caught on. An industry was born.  In the early days, the routing was primarily England to New York City.  The Titanic was doing just that when she went down. Long distance boats rides soon caught on and the demand for overseas transportation rose.

Today, over 25 Million passengers enjoy cruising. Most ships are powered via petroleum products. These tend to dump tons of waste into the air (and a lot settles into the ocean). To help the environment, low sulphur fuels and electric propulsion are trending. Nearly $7B is being spent on new ships.

Cruise ship

Cruise ship pollution

Regulators are now watching smokestack emissions. The European and North American Emissions Control Areas (ECAs) encourage low sulphur fuels. Their reach will soon cover international operations. A major issue for ships is the short life of catalytic components. Estimates of replacement of whole units is about a million USD – labor included.

Although not an Elon Musk (Tesla) idea, we are seeing most newer ships outfitted with electric propulsion. 20 million watts generated is not uncommon. This provides a quieter ride with less vibration.  If you’ve ever roomed at the rear (aft) of the ship, you can feel the engines groaning away.

How about hydrogean power?  That means the most abundant element in the universe is used to generate power and the only waste is water. Norway will develop the world’s first hydrogenpowered cruise ship. Viking Cruises is aiming at zero-emission technology.

I don’t want to forget to remind you that SpeakOnCruises can teach you how to get free cruises for two by giving lectures. Our rates are going up – Save $100 by booking before Oct 15, 2017. See HIREUS.

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Rick Deutsch administrator