RCI-Royal Caribbean's ship Symphony OTS is industry's first to use biofuel blend in Barcelona

   September 21, 2023 ,   Cruise Industry

This week, RCG-Royal Caribbean Group made significant strides in advancing the maritime industry's pursuit of alternative fuels by successfully completing 12+ consecutive weeks of biofuel testing in Europe.

This endeavor aligns with the company's commitment to the "SEA the Future" initiative, which focuses on environmental sustainability, community engagement, and fostering innovation. By implementing measures to reduce emissions in the present, Royal Caribbean Group is actively contributing to the decarbonization of its maritime operations.

On September 19th, 2023, in Barcelona, Spain, RCI-Royal Caribbean International's Symphony of the Seas achieved a milestone by becoming the first ship in the maritime sector to conduct successful biofuel trials, effectively incorporating a biofuel blend into its fuel supply to fulfill a portion of its energy requirements.

The company has verified that the onboard technical systems operate within operational standards, without compromising quality or safety. This successful testing demonstrates that biofuel blends are a dependable "drop-in" energy source with reduced emissions, suitable for use by ships traversing European waters and beyond. Additionally, these trials across Europe have yielded valuable insights into the availability and scalability of biofuel in the region.

Royal Caribbean Group initiated biofuel testing last year and expanded these trials during the summer in Europe, involving two additional ships: Royal Caribbean International's Symphony of the Seas and Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Apex.

The sustainable biofuel blends utilized in these tests were produced by refining renewable raw materials such as waste oils and fats and combining them with conventional fuel oil to create an environmentally cleaner and more sustainable alternative. These biofuel blends have received accreditation from the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC), a globally recognized organization dedicated to ensuring the sustainability of biofuels and validating emissions reductions associated with their use.

As Symphony of the Seas departed from the Port of Barcelona and Celebrity Apex set sail from the Port of Rotterdam, both ships conducted multiple voyages using biofuel, providing essential data regarding the fuel's performance capabilities. These findings will play a pivotal role in expediting the Royal Caribbean Group's plans to further assess various biofuel types during upcoming European sailings in the autumn season. The company is also actively exploring strategic partnerships with fuel suppliers and port facilities to ensure the widespread availability of biofuel and the necessary infrastructure to propel the transition toward cleaner maritime energy sources.