Carnival says it will spend more than $180 million to install exhaust gas cleaning technology on 32 ships, making it the first company to use this scrubber technology in restricted spaces on existing ships.
These include vessels from Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Cunard that sail regularly within the North American Emission Control Area.
The world’s largest cruise company has received support from the EPA, the US Coast Guard and Transport Canada to implement the environmental technology designed to reduce air emissions from cruise ships and large marine vessels.
Carnival has been a partner in the development of this technology and says it will take the lead in further refining both design and installation aspects on ships with a variety of engine configurations between now and mid-2016.
This new generation of scrubber technology combines the removal of sulfur with the substantial reduction of particulate matter and black carbon. Once the exhaust gas cleaning technology is installed and fully operational on the various Carnival subsidiary ships, they will exceed ECA standards, the company says.
The International Maritime Organization’s MARPOL Annex VI places a cap on sulfur within ECAs at 1 percent, which took effect in North America in 2012. In 2015, the limit will be 0.1 percent.
Carnival’s design combines two established technologies, which have been successfully used in power plants, factories and vehicles to scrub the exhaust from high-sulfur fuel.
In addition to exceeding stricter air emission standards, the technology will help the company mitigate escalating fuel costs, Carnival says. The agreement in principle from the EPA and Coast Guard would enable an exemption for Carnival to use the fuel source that makes the most sense from an environmental and economic perspective, the company says. The agreement in principle is a requirement for the flag states of each Carnival subsidiary to grant permission for implementation.
The implementation also produces an immediate significant public health benefit, as all of the ships that will have the scrubber technology installed will use either low-sulfur marine gas oil or shore power when in ports in the US and Canada. Ships that use shore power turn off diesel engines and connect to local electric utility power.
As a next step, Carnival says it will request permits from flag states to allow for the trial of the exhaust gas cleaning technology to proceed.