Royal Caribbean wraps up 12-week biofuel test run in Europe
Cruise shipping major Royal Caribbean Group has completed over 12 consecutive weeks of biofuel testing in Europe.
The company began testing biofuels last year and expanded the trial this summer in Europe to two additional ships — Royal Caribbean International’s Symphony of the Seas and Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Apex.
On Tuesday, Symphony of the Seas became the first ship in the maritime industry to successfully test and use a biofuel blend in Barcelona to meet part of its fuel needs.
The cruise company confirmed onboard technical systems met operational standards, without quality or safety concerns, demonstrating the biofuel blend is a reliable “drop in” supply of lower emission energy that ships can use to set sail across Europe and beyond.
With Symphony of the Seas departing from the Port of Barcelona and Celebrity Apex departing from the Port of Rotterdam, both ships accomplished multiple sailings using biofuel and contributed critical data on the fuel’s capabilities.
The company added that the tests across Europe also provided valuable data to understand the availability and scalability of biofuel in the region.
“This is a pivotal moment for Royal Caribbean Group’s alternative fuel journey,” said Jason Liberty, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean Group.
“Following our successful trial of biofuels this summer, we are one step closer to bringing our vision for net-zero cruising to life. As we strive to protect and promote the vibrant oceans we sail, we are determined to accelerate innovation and improve how we deliver vacation experiences responsibly.”
Royal Caribbean expects these results to help accelerate its plans to continue testing the use of different types of biofuels on upcoming European sailings this fall.
As disclosed, the company is exploring strategic partnerships with suppliers and ports to ensure the availability of biofuel and infrastructures to advance the maritime energy transition.
“Royal Caribbean’s success is a clear example of how commitment to innovation makes possible the development of solutions to decarbonise the maritime sector,” said the President of the Port of Barcelona, Lluís Salvadó.
“In this case, it involves the cruise sector and focuses on biofuels, an area in which the Port of Barcelona is already working to become an energy hub, producing and supplying zero carbon fuels, such as green hydrogen and ammonia, and of other almost zero-carbon alternative fuels, such as methanol, biofuels or synthetic fuels. Innovation and collaboration between ports and shipping companies is key to accelerate the decarbonisation of maritime transport.”
The sustainable biofuel blends tested were produced by purifying renewable raw materials like waste oils and fats and combining them with fuel oil to create an alternative fuel that is cleaner and more sustainable. They are accredited by International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC).