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Building More Environmentally Friendly Cruise Ships

written by: vishalseafarer • edited by: KennethSleight • updated: 8/26/2010

Cruise ships have many negative environmental implications. There are many reasons why this is so, but recent developments and good engineering will help in building cruise ships that are much more eco-friendly.

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    Cruise Ships Ratings and Reviews - Carbon Footprints of Cruise Liners

    Other articles here at Bright Hub have looked at cruise liners in general and at some of the biggest cruise liners as well as the top 10 cruise companies. All these articles may have painted a luxurious picture in your mind, but cruise ships do have many negative implications for the environment and are not a more "green" alternative to flying as many believe. They do result in a much higher carbon foot print.

    There could be several factors which result in higher carbon footprinting by ocean liners. Sme of the reasons of their being no so eco-friendly follow:

    1. They are built of high grade iron and steel to make the ship more robust, stable, and safe.
    2. Using such high grade materials increases the weight significantly, and therefore they tend to sink deeper in the water, more than they are required to, though it also makes sure that they are stable with a low center of gravity.
    3. This causes an increase in the drag by the water.
    4. To avoid the reduction in speed because of higher drag, this problem is overcome by installing engines with more horsepower, which increases fuel consumption and thereby results in higher carbon emissions.

    Overcoming these problems:

    Of course there are always solutions to problems, so even passenger ships can be made better in terms of their environmental friendliness by following one or more of the below mentioned techniques.

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    Toward More Efficient Cruise Ships

    New building materials for cruise ships hulls

    Using new alloys when building ships have been proposed, which should result in a 30% reduction of weight of the ships. Not only are they light, but they are also as strong as the contemporary high grade steel and iron used to build ships. As explained earlier, this results in less fuel consumption due to drag reduction

    Changing the structure of the ship

    More hydrodynamic shapes help in reducing the fuel consumption and making the throughput of the engine power more efficient. New techniques of using hulls which are more rounded at top allow the ship to glide over its surface rather than cutting the water and pushing it aside, which is exactly what the traditional V-shaped hulls do. Usage of such hulls help in increasing engine life and reducing fuel consumption.

    Improved aerodynamics can be used on smaller boats, but they do not make much difference on the huge cruise ships.

    More efficient engines for cruise liners

    Engines that use the revolutionary wave technology which is still in experimental stage should be adapted to and building ships with such revolutionary technologies should be encouraged, even though they might not be as efficient as expected. (Constant development should help, of course.)

    Low sulphur fuels for ship engines

    Low sulphur diesel is said to cut emissions substantially. Moreover using engines that efficiently use the fuel are recommended because not much fuel is wasted in this process.

    Lighter weight interior material fittings inside cruise ship

    More usage of light weight materials inside the ship will contribute to reducing the ship from becoming more heavier than it is already is.

    Hence we can say that despite providing the best of luxuries, the cruise liners are playing a role in terms of leaving their carbon footprints. Shipyards, naval architects, and marine engineers should all be able to contribute in their own ways to make these ships more environmentally friendly.