The Royal Caribbean International vessel Symphony of the Seas has successfully tested and used a biofuel blend in Barcelona, Spain, to meet part of its fuel needs.
The trial was completed over 12 consecutive weeks of biofuel testing in Europe. The company confirmed onboard technical systems met operational standards, without quality or safety concerns, demonstrating the biofuel blend is a reliable drop-in supply of lower-emission energy that ships can use to set sail across Europe and beyond. The tests across Europe also provided data to understand the availability and scalability of biofuel in the region.
The company began testing biofuels in 2022 and expanded the trial in the summer of 2023 in Europe to two additional ships – Royal Caribbean International’s Symphony of the Seas and Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Apex. The sustainable biofuel blends tested were produced by purifying renewable raw materials like waste oils and fats and combining them with fuel oil to create an alternative fuel that is cleaner and more sustainable.
The biofuel blends tested are accredited by the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC), an organization that ensures the sustainability of biofuels and verifies reductions of related emissions.
With Symphony of the Seas departing from the Port of Barcelona and Celebrity Apex departing from the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, both ships accomplished multiple sailings using biofuel and contributed critical data on the fuel’s capabilities. These results will help accelerate Royal Caribbean Group’s plans to continue testing the use of different types of biofuels on upcoming European sailings this autumn. The company is exploring strategic partnerships with suppliers and ports to ensure the availability of biofuel and infrastructures to advance the maritime energy transition.
The company’s pursuit of lower-carbon energy solutions is driven by its ‘SEA the Future’ commitment to sustaining the planet, energizing communities and accelerating innovation. By introducing methods that reduce emissions today, Royal Caribbean Group is ultimately advancing the decarbonization of its operations.
“This is a pivotal moment for Royal Caribbean Group’s alternative fuel journey,” said Jason Liberty, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group. “Following our successful trial of biofuels this summer, we are one step closer to bringing our vision for net-zero cruising to life. As we strive to protect and promote the vibrant oceans we sail, we are determined to accelerate innovation and improve how we deliver vacation experiences responsibly.”
Lluís Salvadó, president of the Port of Barcelona, said, “Royal Caribbean’s success is a clear example of how commitment to innovation makes possible the development of solutions to decarbonize the maritime sector. In this case, it involves the cruise sector and focuses on biofuels, an area in which the Port of Barcelona is already working to become an energy hub, producing and supplying zero-carbon fuels, such as green hydrogen and ammonia, and of other almost zero-carbon alternative fuels, such as methanol, biofuels or synthetic fuels. Innovation and collaboration between ports and shipping companies is key to accelerating the decarbonization of maritime transport.”
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