Skip to Content

Holland America Pilots Renewable Fuels on MS Rotterdam

Holland America Pilots Renewable Fuels on MS Rotterdam

Cruise line Holland America has announced the start of a long-term biofuel test on its flagship, Rotterdam.

The company plans to leverage 100% low carbon intensity biofuel while MS Rotterdam is sailing within the Norwegian World Heritage Fjords.

Prior to departing from the Port of Rotterdam, Netherlands on April 27, 2024, the ship bunkered the biofuel. While in the fjords, she will run one of her four engines on low carbon intensity oil produced from organic waste or residues and approved in accordance with the EU Renewable Energy Directive.

An anticipated 86% reduction in life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions will result from using FincoEnergies’ sustainable biofuel, GoodFuels MR1-100.

Holland America has announced the start of a long-term biofuel test on its flagship, Rotterdam (image courtesy of Holland America Line)

“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,” Antorcha continued in a press release.

During this month’s sailings, one of the ship’s four engines will be used for initial tests. Holland America notes that it may be possible to test additional engines when the ship is sailing in Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord later this summer.

Related: Holland America Completes Shore Power Connectivity Installation Fleetwide

What Are Biofuels?

Biofuels are an energy source made from waste fats, oils, and grease that are left over after feedstock processing, and their production is linked to very low emissions. This sustainable fuel is produced from 100% organic waste or residue, and proponents claim it doesn’t pose a threat to food production or cause deforestation.

Creating minimal emissions during production, biofuels result in a very low carbon intensity with an estimated reduction of 86% in emissions compared to marine gas oil (MGO).

“The GoodFuels MR1-100 fits the existing practice in shipping where heavier fuels are already used today” said Johannes Schurmann, Commercial Director 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.”

Holland America’s existing ships can operate on biofuels without modifications to the engine or fuel structure. The cruise line continues to partner with companies to explore alternative fuels and technologies and to identify new ways to reduce emissions.

“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,” said Alf Tore, Acting Director General of Shipping and Navigation for the Norwegian Maritime Authority.

Holland America’s sustainability commitment

After a successful initial test aboard Volendam in August 2022, Holland America Line is among the first Carnival Corporation brands to run a long-term 100% biofuel shipboard operation.

Holland America previously ran a successful biofuel test aboard MS Volendam in August 2022 (image courtesy of Holland America Line)

Carnival Corporation’s German cruise line AIDA also tested GoodFuels biofuels aboard AIDAprima in Rotterdam in 2022.

These are some of the first in-service trials of biofuels aboard working cruise ships, though biofuels have been tested on large diesel engines at shoreside research facilities and in other shipping segments.

The biofuel tests conducted by the two cruise lines align with Carnival Corporation’s overall environmental mission and objectives. Carnival Corporation claims to be making significant progress toward its 2030 objectives and the aim of achieving net zero emissions from ship operations by 2050, according to the company’s 2023 Sustainability Report, published in April 2024.

Related: CLIA Releases New Environmental Data Report for Cruise Industry

More news about Holland America Line

Is sustainability in the world of cruising important to you? Do you choose a cruise line based on its use of sustainable fuel, or are other factors more important to you? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Carrie Ann Karstunen