Carnival’s Costa Group in MOU on methanol fueling for cruise ships

Written by Nick Blenkey
Costa is exploring methanol fueling for cruise ships

Methanol continues to make new inroads into the marine fuel market. Yesterday, it was the bulk carrier segment where methanol fueling was in the news. Today, it’s cruising. Costa Group, part of Carnival Corporation and a leading European cruise operator with its two brands Costa Cruises and AIDA Cruises, has signed an MOU with one of the world’s leading methanol producers, Proman.

The MOU aims to push forward the implementation of methanol as a marine fuel by the cruise industry, by enhancing the supply of sustainable methanol, paving the way for the retrofitting of existing vessels to operate on clean fuel, as well as investment in further methanol-fueled newbuilds.

The MOU reaffirms methanol’s potential to play a key role in the ongoing reduction of GHG emissions of the cruise sector and other shipping segments. Costa and Proman say that it is a cleaner-burning fuel which virtually eliminates airborne pollutants such as particulate matter and sulfur oxides and is widely available and increasingly produced via lower-carbon, biogenic or hydrogen-based pathways. When used in fuel cells, methanol has the potential to allow for lifecycle zero emissions in the near future.

Methanol is emerging as a leading alternative fuel to meet GHG reduction goals due to its easy-to-handle properties, making it attractive for both new builds and for refitting existing ships. As one of the most widely traded chemical commodities, the infrastructure for ship supply could be adapted from existing infrastructure. All forms of methanol, whether natural-gas based, low-carbon or renewable, can be blended regardless of production pathways. It therefore enables a reliable transition pathway from today to fully GHG neutral cruise ships in near future.

“The technology to retrofit a vessel to accept methanol as a fuel is available today,” said Tim Cornelius, Proman’s managing director of corporate development. “Our methanol products can facilitate the transition to low carbon intensity fuels. Methanol-powered vessels have a proven track record of reducing and eliminating major greenhouse gas emissions, delivering immediate air quality improvements around major ports and shipping lanes. We are excited to bring our expertise along the full methanol value chain to help deliver on Costa Group’s bold ambitions.”


Costa Group has a history of steadily pioneering advanced technologies on board its new and existing ships. The company was the first to introduce liquefied natural gas (LNG) propulsion for emission reduction with four ships already in service in the Costa Group fleet. The majority of Costa Group ships are equipped with shore power capabilities to be zero emissions in ports where the technology is available, and the company has also performed its first tests on biofuels.

“We are reducing the carbon footprint of our fleet while at port and at sea, investing in advanced environmental technologies and partnering with companies such as Proman who share a passion for sustainable energy transition,” said – said Dr. Christoph Schladoer, VP decarbonization at Costa Group. “By enabling cruise ships to use methanol as a propulsion fuel, Costa follows the ambition to take the next big step towards GHG neutral operations of our fleet by 2050.”

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