Major cruise firm testing AD technology on board ships

The world’s largest leisure travel company, Carnival Corporation, is pilot-testing food waste biodigester technology on its ships in a bid to improve its environmental compliance and food waste disposal processes.

Carnival has announced plans to expand the programme across its fleet in the near future. The biodigesters help to reduce a ship’s carbon footprint by using anaerobic digestion (AD) to break down food waste. By using AD at sea, Carnival is able to separate small pieces of plastics and other debris and provide more efficient and centralised onsite food waste operations, all while protecting the environment.

The new AD technology is being evaluated on 15 ships, with 12 more ships scheduled in the coming months across seven of the company’s nine cruise line brands – Carnival Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, P&O Cruises (UK), Princess Cruises and Seabourn. The biodigester systems being tested by Carnival are among the first systems of this kind to be trialled on cruise ships.

“Since we serve meals to millions of guests each year, this new green technology can help us significantly reduce our environmental impact and carbon footprint, while also greatly improving our ability to manage non-food waste, including plastics,” said Chris Donald, senior vice president of corporate environmental compliance at Carnival.

“We have already seen positive results and significant benefits from these systems, which are technologically advanced yet simple to use. We are excited to continue evaluating different digesters and are currently planning to expand the use of these systems across our fleet as part of our commitment to environmental excellence.”

Carnival is testing three different biodigester machines that can evaluate a variety of parameters and produce valuable data, including the weight and volume of food digested, the net food waste reduced and the amount of carbon dioxide reduced. The information will be automatically uploaded to a cloud server and remotely monitored by shipboard and shore-side employees.

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