Royal Caribbean Stewardship Report: Fuel Use Down 3.7%

by | Aug 25, 2010

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Royal Caribbean’s ships reduced fuel consumption by 3.7 percent per available passenger cruise day (APCD) in 2009 over 2008 levels, exceeding its 2 percent reduction goal by 85 percent, according to the company’s 2009 Stewardship Report.

Royal Caribbean consumed about 30,000 less metric tons of fuel than planned, which the company attributes partly to the introduction of two new ships to its fleet: the Celebrity Equinox and Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis of the Seas, touted as the largest cruise ship in the world, which use the latest technological advances to reduce fuel consumption.

As an example, the Oasis of the Seas is projected to emit 30 to 40 percent less carbon dioxide (CO2) per person per day than ships built a dozen years ago.

The company’s goal for 2010 is to further increase its efficiencies and save an additional 2.5 percent per APCD, which Royal Caribbean calls a “stretch goal” since it currently anticipates a 1.6 percent reduction based on the financial plan for 2010.

The company has been working on testing and deploying more efficient means of power production and consumption, as well as using cleaner fuels. These measures include improved hydrodynamics, propeller, propulsion and hull designs, all of which require less fuel per base unit, says Royal Caribbean.

The company says its focus on issues such as ship speed, hull maintenance, deployment (itinerary planning of individual sailings), HVAC use, lighting, water management and behavioral changes among its guests and employees has enabled the company to reduce its fuel use by two to four percent per APCD since last year.

In the longer term, the company aims to reduce its overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by one-third per APCD by 2015, as compared to 2008 levels. To achieve its goals, the company plans to focus on several strategies, which include building more fuel-efficient ships, paying more attention to itinerary planning, adjusting arrival and departure times at some ports of call, optimizing the speed of its ships while at sea, meeting power needs with clean energy sources such as solar panels, and conducting research into long-term, clean power plant replacement technologies.

In the area of wastewater management, the company completed in 2009 the fleetwide installation of an additional oily bilge water discharge protection system to independently and automatically record any accidental or improper release of non-compliant bilge water.

The company also plans is to equip every ship in its fleet with an Advanced Wastewater Purification (AWP) System that produces an effluent that is cleaner than what is required by international sewage regulations and cleaner than what is discharged from most municipalities, according to the cruise line.

As of 2009, 22 of its ships are equipped with an AWP, with four more installations planned in 2010.

In 2009, Royal Caribbean recycled and reused more than 14 million pounds of materials, an increase of 2 million pounds from the previous year. The company also was able to reduce the amount of waste landed ashore from its ships to 1.4 pounds per APCD in 2009, down from 2 pounds per APCD in 2007.

The company’s goals are to reduce the volume of solid waste going to landfill by 50 percent and increase the volume of waste recycled by 50 percent by 2015.

Although Royal Caribbean says it produces only a very small quantity of hazardous wastes, it achieved a 25 percent reduction in the generation of hazardous waste in 2009 compared to 2008 levels, and 44 percent lower than 2007 levels.

The company also implemented a Green Rating System as a guide in analyzing and removing chemical products that present an environmental concern from shipboard use.

The cruise line’s ships are also getting more energy efficient. As examples, the four ships in Royal Caribbean International’s Radiance class and the four ships in Celebrity Cruises’ Millennium class are equipped with smokeless gas-turbine engines, claimed as the first in the cruise industry, and three ships — Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Equinox and Oasis of the Seas — have installed thin-film solar on their top decks, also an industry first. These solar panels provide enough electricity to power approximately 7,000 LED lights on the Solstice-class vessels and fixed lighting in the Royal Promenade on Oasis of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean is also working to reduce the heat produced and the energy consumed by its lighting, and has been progressively replacing halogen and incandescent light bulbs with LED and compact fluorescent lights. The cruise line is also working to cut energy use from its air conditioning systems.

As an example, the majority of Celebrity’s Millennium-class and Royal Caribbean International’s Radiance-class ships have the ability, when in cold water climates such as Alaska and the Baltic, to reduce approximately one megawatt of their energy consumption by cooling the chiller water using low-temperature sea water, instead of running one of their air conditioning compressors. This equates to roughly four–to-five metric tons of fuel savings per ship per day.

In 2009, Royal Caribbean’s greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint was 4,108,556 metric tons, which equates to 0.14652 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) per APCD. This figure, which includes both direct emissions from its ships and indirect emissions from electrical consumption at its shoreside facilities, represents its total GHG footprint, including carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, and nitrous oxide emissions, as well as its total refrigerant losses.

Since the company’s 2008 Stewardship Report did not include the CO2e of methane and nitrous oxide in its total GHG footprint, the company recalculated 2008 figures and have included these in its 2009 GHG totals. In addition, the 2008 published data included its use of biofuels in the total emissions figure. To report in accordance with the ISO standard, carbon dioxide data from biofuels use has now been removed from the total figure and reported separately.

Royal Caribbean’s recalculated 2008 GHG footprint is now 3,817,911 metric tons, equivalent to 0.14470 metric tons of CO2e per APCD, which makes the company’s 2009 footprint slightly higher than the 2008 numbers. The company attributes this to the inclusion of indirect emissions from electrical consumption and refrigerant releases from the Pullmantur fleet that it did not actively track prior to 2009.

The company’s total NOx emissions in 2009 were 60,329 metric tons, or .00217 metric tons per APCD. SOx emissions totaled 55,493 metric tons, or .00199 metric tons per APCD, while PM emissions were 6,848 metric tons, or .00025 metric tons per APCD. This represents a 0.7 percent reduction of NOx and increases of SOx and PM by 1.9 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively, over 2008 emissions.

The company attributes the increases of SOx and PM to the cessation of its biofuels initiative, which took place from 2006 through 2008.

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