MSC Group, Fincantieri and Snam have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on a study that will assess the feasibility of building the world’s first hydrogen-powered cruise ship.

Over the course of the next 12 months, the three companies will study key factors including accommodating the ‘H2′ hydrogen technologies and fuel cells, calculating the potential greenhouse gas emission savings, and analysing the technical and economical impact of hydrogen supply.

Green hydrogen can be entirely emissions-free and can be used to generate electrical power, emitting only water vapour and heat. Adopting the fuel successfully would play a huge part in decarbonising the shipping industry, including cruising. MSC is working to become carbon neutral by 2050.

Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of the Cruise Division of MSC Group said: ‘As a company that has long made environmental sustainability its focus, we want to put ourselves at the forefront of the energy revolution for our sector and hydrogen can greatly contribute to this.

He added: ‘However, today production levels remain low and hydrogen fuel is still far from being available at scale. With this project, we’re taking the lead to bring this promising technology to our fleet and the industry while sending the strongest possible signal to the market about how seriously we take our environmental commitments.’

Fincantieri CEO Giuseppe Bono said: ‘Every opportunity for new solutions and technologies is a source of growth for us. This one allows us to offer our customers the best of innovation to help minimize the environmental impact.’

‘Hydrogen could be a key enabler in achieving the target of net zero-emissions in shipping, accounting for approximately 3% of global CO2 emissions, as well as in all the hard to abate sectors,’ Snam CEO Marco Alverà added.