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Holland America Line begins pilot test of marine biofuel on its flagship Rotterdam

Holland America Line's flagship Rotterdam (Photo: Holland America Line)

Holland America Line announced May 2 the start of a long-term biofuel test on its flagship, Rotterdam, leveraging 100 percent low carbon-intensity biofuel while sailing within the Norwegian World Heritage Fjords.


The ship bunkered the biofuel before leaving the Port of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, April 27, and will operate one of its four engines using low carbon-intensity oil derived from organic waste or residues and certified according to the EU Renewable Energy Directive while in the fjords.


The GoodFuels MR1-100 sustainable biofuel supplied by FincoEnergies will yield an estimated 86 percent reduction in lifecycle greenhouse-gas emissions.


“Holland America Line is committed to reducing our greenhouse-gas emissions and we are excited to demonstrate a next-generation fuel source that can help us toward our pursuit of net-zero emissions,” said Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line. “Converting items such as food waste into fuel is an innovative way to meet environmental challenges and we thank the Dutch government for its support.”   


The initial tests will occur on one of the ship’s four engines during cruises this month, with the potential to expand to multiple engines during the summer while operating in the Norwegian World Heritage Fjords, specifically Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord.


Holland America Line’s existing ships operate on biofuels without modifications to the engine or fuel structure.


Holland America Line said it continues to partner with companies to find ways to reduce emissions and develop alternative fuels and technologies.


“The GoodFuels MR1-100 fits the existing practice in shipping where heavier fuels are already used today,” said Johannes Schurmann, the commercial director of international marine at FincoEnergies. “Together with our clients, we optimize sustainability and cost of the biofuel, while not jeopardizing the performance in the engine and fuel system.”


Alf Tore, the Norwegian Maritime Authority’s acting director general of shipping and navigation, added, “There is a need to look at all good alternatives to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions in the future and we see biofuels as one of the alternatives that, with the right use and origin, will contribute to emission reductions, which we welcome. The Norwegian Maritime Authority takes a positive view of all measures taken by the industry to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.”


Holland America Line is one of the first Carnival Corp. brands to run a long-term 100 percent biofuel shipboard operation, having completed a successful first test in August 2022.


Carnival’s German line AIDA also tested GoodFuels biofuels on board AIDAprima in Rotterdam in 2022.


While biofuels have been tested on large diesel engines at shoreside research facilities and in other shipping segments, these tests are among the first live tests on working cruise ships.


The two cruise lines’ biofuel tests support the overall environmental mission, goals and aspirations of Carnival.


Carnival’s 2023 sustainability report released in April shows the company is making significant achievements toward its 2030 goals and the overall aspiration to achieve net-zero emissions from ship operations by 2050. 



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