Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2024

117 VIEWPOINT Fincantieri is exploring new fuels, technologies and designs as it commits to building more sustainable ships By Marco Bognolo, Fincantieri Decarbonisation by design Photo: Fincantieri Amid the cruise industry’s widespread efforts to identify the environmentally friendly fuels of the future, shipyards are confronting the task of integrating energy-efficiency features into the designs of prototype passenger vessels. It’s important for us to stay flexible to keep on top of the ever-evolving landscape that encompasses operations, technologies, fuels, and regulations. The progressively increasing pressure surrounding fuel transition has triggered the development of hybrid power generation systems, which integrate engines running on conventional fuels with batteries or other energy storage solutions. In recent years, Fincantieri has looked into how hydrogen fuel cells can be used as a sustainable substitute for traditional fuels in marine projects for emissions-free operations while in port. Additionally, Fincantieri is carrying out detailed engineering analyses to explore how integrating carbon capture systems into methanol or LNG-fed fuel cells could mitigate residual carbon dioxide emissions stemming from the chemical reactions involved. Our exploration of the viability of fully electric ships and hydrogen-fuelled vessels is ongoing, particularly for shortdistance routes, presenting the potential for zero-emission operations within designated areas. Recent advancements include the integration of windassist technologies, such as sails, into innovative projects, aiming to harness wind energy and diminish reliance on traditional engine power. Furthermore, the gradual implementation of onshore power supply in ports is expected to play a pivotal role in reducing the carbon footprint of vessels equipped with cold ironing facilities. Fincantieri is committed to decreasing the fuel consumption of the ships it builds. This is achieved by capitalising on hydrodynamic enhancements and improving hotel load efficiency. Strategies should be tailored to the operational profile of the vessel and could include the integration of drag-reducing features like the air lubrication system. These are coupled with Fincantieri’s extensive expertise in using computational fluid dynamics methods to refine hull forms and appendages. Machine learning techniques are now augmenting this expertise, further enhancing the effectiveness of design optimisation. Fincantieri has also extended its portfolio to include digital services, in particular tailor-made digital twins. These tools play a crucial role in the design phase, helping the team to simulate and pinpoint technical configurations to develop ships with a smaller carbon footprint. They achieve this by addressing aspects such as the reduction of electric energy demand, improvement of heat recovery, and minimisation of energy losses. Once ships are in operation, their digital twin functions as an interactive support for crew members. Features include route optimisation algorithms and real-time monitoring systems, which help them navigate ships more efficiently to reduce fuel consumption and lower emissions. Marco Bognolo is vice president of basic design in the merchant ships division at Fincantieri Fincantieri has used new, more efficient designs for vessels such as Princess Cruises’ Sun Princess