Photo: Meyer Turku

Finland: New project aims to build climate-neutral cruise ship

Finnish shipbuilder Meyer Turku is leading a project that aims to develop carbon-neutral and sustainable technological solutions for cruise ships through an extensive partnership network.

Photo: Meyer Turku

The NEcOLEAP project brings together industry trailblazers to build a climate-neutral cruise ship. The goal is to secure a significant cruise ship order for the Finnish shipyard.

“The research and development topics will focus on four areas: the cruise ship itself, the shipyard’s operations, i.e. shipbuilding, and the introduction of smart technologies and the open-minded professionals of the future,” Ilkka Rytkölä, project Director at Meyer Turku, said.

The shipbuilder has been selected to take part in Business Finland’s financing project for leading companies and their partner ecosystems, which aims to help companies to increase their RDI investments in Finland. 

Gaining access to Business Finland’s RDI funding was not only significant but also vital for Meyer Turku, as only innovative R&D work and continuous modernization can guarantee the yard’s competitive position in the increasingly competitive maritime industry, according to Meyer Turku.

As informed, a direct employment impact of securing a single climate-neutral ship order will be approximately 12,000 person-years, which is equivalent to approximately 9,500 jobs for the shipyard and its ecosystem of partners. The impact of the order on Meyer’s net sales is approximately one billion euros and will have a direct impact on Finnish exports.

“In the partnership network, we will create an opportunity for thousands of Finnish experts to innovate and to be a part of something entirely new,” Rytkölä added.

“With the European Union’s Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) funding, leading companies can start significant green transition -related R&D initiatives in Finland. These initiatives have a major impact on the well-being of Finns in terms of employment and business development. Meyer Turku’s NEcOLEAP project reinforces the know-how and partner network of the Finnish maritime cluster as well as strengthens global competitiveness,” Karin Wikman, Business Finland’s leading expert, commented.

According to Executive Vice President of Meyer Turku, Tapani Pulli, the main goal of the NEcOLEAP project will be to adapt the business towards the green transition and meet the demands of climate action together with Meyer’s partner ecosystem.

“This in part also will contribute to Business Finland’s goal of raising the share of R&D from 2,5 percent  to 4 percent of the GDP,” Pulli said.

EUR 100 million development project

Meyer Turku’s goal is to develop a climate-neutral cruise ship concept by 2025 and achieve carbon-neutral shipbuilding by 2030.

The cost estimate of the NEcOLEAP project is approximately EUR 100 million, of which Business Finland’s financial contribution to Meyer is EUR 20 million and Meyer Turku’s own contribution is EUR 30 million. Business Finland has also set aside EUR 50 million for companies, research institutes and universities involved in the ecosystem.

Many parties have already expressed an interest to participate in the project. The NEcOLEAP project’s various research areas are well suited for university and research institute projects.

Research work and the results of the project will also provide direction and guidelines for future research and product development. In addition to large companies, a large number of SMEs and startups are expected to participate in the project.

“With the NEcOLEAP research and development project, we will be able to meet our customers’ strategic sustainability goals,” Pulli continued.

An extensive cooperation network and ecosystem

“The construction of a climate-neutral cruise ship will require extensive cooperation between companies, universities, and research institutes, as well as new ways of working. In the NEcOLEAP project, we will explore new sustainable technologies that can be leveraged to develop energy and resource efficiency, automation, robotics and cybersecurity for ships and shipbuilding,” Pulli explained.

In addition to environmentally friendly energy solutions, the project will enable the exploration of circular economy solutions as well as the resource efficiency of materials. The goal is to find the most inventive solutions and innovative technologies. The Meyer Turku cooperation network now includes about 1,350 partner companies, and with the project that figure is expected to grow to 1,500.

“Only in this way can we stand out in the intensifying competition of the maritime industry and maintain our … position in the global market,” Pulli concluded.

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