The UK has set ambitious goals to meet net-zero targets by 2050. In order to do this, the country must also decarbonize its offshore fleet. Now, a new project may succeed in doing just that.
Led by a consortium of offshore renewable energy and marine companies, the project will seek to examine the viability of developing an offshore charging facility for electrified vessels.
The novel technology would see electrified vessels dock and recharge whilst operating offshore. This will provide the ships greater range and bigger operating windows.
It would work as follows: the charging vessel would draw power from wind farms at times of low demand and store it in onboard batteries.
Clean maritime solutions
“ORE Catapult recognizes the strong industry demand for clean maritime solutions to help the industry reduce its emissions during the operations and maintenance of offshore wind farms. Early indications suggest that electric and hybrid CTVs are gaining popularity among operators and an important enabler to unleash their full potential is the capability to charge offshore," said Stuart Barnes, Regional Partnership Manager at ORE Catapult, one of the project's partners.
Having this new facility that can provide a charging capability offshore could also bolster more confidence to invest in electrified vessels. In turn, these vessels would provide a reduction in operations and maintenance costs.
“As a vessel operator actively pursuing net-zero maritime operations, we believe that offshore charging capability is an important enabler to the rapid deployment of electric and hybrid electric vessels in offshore wind," said Leo Hambro, Director at Tidal Transit, another of the project's partners.
As a first step, ORE Catapult is executing a market awareness study and seeking expert input from vessel designers, vessel operators and wind farm owner-operators regarding the project. This process will take place via an online survey. Interested parties can follow the link to contribute.