Offshore wind vessel decarbonisation: The first step for a net zero future

ORE Catapult’s clean maritime demonstration competition projects are set to revolutionise offshore wind vessel decarbonisation.

ORE Catapult’s projects will revolutionise offshore wind

The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult’s five clean maritime demonstration competition (CMDC) projects ended in March 2022. These projects are expected to significantly contribute towards wider maritime decarbonisation.

The five projects signify £3.3m in funding from the UK Department for Transport and are provided in association with Innovate UK. It is expected that these ventures will help pave the way towards a future of shipping with zero emissions, clean vessels, and alternative fuels.

Out of the five CMDC projects, ORE Catapult’s flagship project was a feasibility study into the development of a National Clean Maritime Demonstration Hub in Grimsby. This was considered a first step towards the development of an infrastructural support ecosystem built to accelerate the deployment of clean maritime technology.

In collaboration with nine project partners and industry advisors, that includes major players, such as RWE and Orsted, ORE Catapult conducted a high-quality feasibility study. This was done with the intention to notify a business case for infrastructure investment in zero emission fuels/charging infrastructure at the Port of Grimsby, which is the world’s largest operations and maintenance (O&M) port.

It is believed that the project will behave as a catalyst to showcase Grimsby at the heart of the clean maritime sector and foster further collaboration in offshore wind vessel decarbonisation.

Decarbonisation of the offshore renewables’ maritime fleet

The other projects involved included: progressing innovations in electric crew transfer vessels (CTVs) through the Artemis eFoiler-CTV concept, a demonstration of the first electric charging point prior to real-world in-field trials, an investigation into data-led emission management, and a feasibility study on the development of an offshore wind power barge, providing vessel-to-vessel charging and battery swapping capabilities.

These projects brought a collaboration of partners together from the offshore wind and maritime industries, the supply chain, and the government, to create a blueprint for the decarbonisation of the offshore renewables’ maritime fleet.

“As both a producer and user of clean fuels, the offshore wind industry can act as a first mover in the deployment of zero emissions vessels, and act as a springboard for broader maritime decarbonisation,” said David Cooper, ORE Catapult’s Clean Maritime Regional Partnership Manager.

“The completion of the CMDC projects marks a huge milestone in the industry’s journey towards net zero and it is fantastic to see such impressive developments made in such a short space of time. We are thrilled to have played a convening role, pulling expertise from a range of delivery partners across all the projects, acting as a blueprint for the future of vessel decarbonisation, not only within offshore wind but across the wider maritime sector.”

Paul Cairns, Managing Director at MJR Power & Automation, added: “We are delighted to join some of the leading players in both the offshore wind and maritime industries as part of these exciting projects. It is fantastic for MJR to play our part in several projects and support the offshore wind industry in its efforts to decarbonise.”

Leo Hambro, Commercial Director, at Tidal Transit commented: “The future of offshore wind logistics has to be as green as the energy that the farms produce. To achieve this ambitious goal the CMDC has enabled the development of an offshore charger and an electric foiling CTV. Tidal Transit are delighted to have been project partners in both of these and the support provided by ORE Catapult has added significant value to each.”

Rob Stewart, Aluminium Marine Consultants, concluded: “We have produced a feasibility study as part of the offshore wind power barge project that helps to lay the groundwork for a zero carbon transport infrastructure for the offshore wind industry.”

Electric vessel charging system trials to extend to a real-world environment

The outputs produced from the original five projects are expected to form the building blocks of future clean maritime programmes within offshore wind. MJR Power and Automation announced its intention to extend its electric vessel charging system trials to a real-world environment later this year.

Additionally, the National Clean Maritime Demonstration Hub in Grimsby expects to progress to the next phase of deploying infrastructure. Artemis will also be looking to develop its e-foiler concept further, through the build of an offshore wind CTV based on the feasibility study on the initial project. Lastly, some partners from the Charging and Battery Swapping Vessel project will use the feasibility study developed in this CMDC work as the foundation for a further project known titled, ‘Zephyrus.’


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