LNG ship and hybrid-electric plane: breakthrough innovations in sustainable transportation

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Pays de la Loire is a cradle for innovation, notably in green tech. Local industrials were recently in the spotlight for participating in major projects: a boat powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and a hybrid-electric Airbus plane prototype. Both took advantage of the centuries of industrial history of the region. 


Transport represents almost a quarter of Europe’s gas emissions and is one of the main sources of pollution. Aware of the necessity to improve, manufacturers are creating innovative ideas to aim for low-emission mobility.

A natural gas powered vessel in Saint-Nazaire

The MSC Europa World, built in the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard for MSC Cruises, will become the world’s largest cruise ship when it will be finished in 2022. It will also be the first LNG boat constructed in France.

Liquified natural gas will be used to produce electricity and heat thanks to 50kw solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology demonstrator installed on the ship, which is a world first. MSC announced this innovative technology should reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 30% and without throwing out any nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides nor fine particles.

During the ceremony organized for the cutting of the first steel, MSC’s Executive Chairman, Pierfrancesco Vaga, said: “With each new ship we raise the bar of environmental performance and our ultimate goal is zero emissions operations.

A hybrid-electric aircraft with Tronico’s technology

Airbus is leading a groundbreaking project in partnership with Rolls-Royce and Siemens and backed by the UK government. The E-Fan X hybrid-electric flight demonstrator pioneers the future of aviation and will use electronic components designed by Vendée based company Tronico.

Specialized in tailor-made electronic solutions for major industrials, Tronico will provide the energy converters through its brand Tame-Power. The aircraft will use a 2MW hybrid-electric propulsion system and flight testing will start by 2020.

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