Offshore wind developer Ørsted and vessel owner Esvagt on Friday announced an investment in what they claim is the world’s first service operating vessel (SOV) that can run on green fuels.
“The SOV will be powered by dual-fuel batteries and motors, capable of sailing on renewable e-methanol, produced from wind energy and biogenic carbon, resulting in an annual emissions reduction of approximately 4,500 tonnes of CO2,” Esvagt said.
“The maritime sector urgently needs new green fuels, which today cost more than fossil alternatives. By ordering the new SOV, Ørsted and ESVAGT are showing their commitment to a green maritime sector and helping to create the demand needed for accelerate to lower costs of green fuels for the maritime industry. The investment decision also sends a clear signal that the future of service and installation vessels is green. For the new SOV, Ørsted intends to supply the e-methanol,” Esvagt said.
“An offshore wind farm already has 99% fewer emissions than a coal-fired power plant, over the lifetime of the asset, including production, construction and installation. today between ESVAGT and Ørsted will be a step on the way to mitigating the remaining emissions,” said Esvagt.
Esvagt will begin constructing the vessel in the second quarter of 2022. Once commissioned by the end of 2024, the SOV will begin serving the 1.3 GW offshore wind farm, Hornsea 2, off the east coast of UK.
Mark Porter, Ørsted’s Head of Offshore Operations, says: “As the world leader in offshore wind, it is only natural for Ørsted to take the lead in eliminating fossil fuels from the industry. We have set clear goals and a clear direction towards net zero emissions, and this new methanol-fueled SOV is tangible proof of our clear commitment to achieving those goals. The agreement with Esvagt ticks many boxes for us, as it both helps to decarbonize our offshore operations while demonstrating our firm belief that green fuels based on renewable energy are the most viable solution to creating a green maritime sector. .
The ship will be 93 meters long, with a width of 19.60 meters, a maximum draft of 6.5 meters and a speed of about 14 knots. It will accommodate 124 people. Esvagt did not specify where the ship will be built. Commercial details were also not shared.
As Esvagt says, servicing an offshore wind farm is very labor intensive and handled by a highly specialized team of service technicians who are often offshore for weeks at a time. For this, during their stay offshore, the technicians live on a Service Operation Vessel (SOV), which also houses an onboard workshop and a large part of the equipment and spare parts necessary for the maintenance of an offshore wind farm.
Describing the design of the SOV it will build under the agreement with Ørsted, Esvagt said: “The SOV is designed for comfort and high manoeuvrability, providing a highly efficient workspace and safe transfer of technicians to the wind farm via a compensated movement gangway and transfer boats as well as a crane to lift heavy spare parts.
“As a houseboat, it also offers recreational activities for the crew and technicians on board, including fitness facilities, a games room, a cinema and individual accommodation. The SOV is also equipped with a helipad for quick access and transfers from the shore.
Offshore Engineer has emailed Esvagt, asking for more details on the charter length and contract value, and who the shipbuilder will be.
A spokesperson for Esvagt said the company would not reveal the “specific [contract] years or value”, the charter would be “of considerable length”.
As for the shipbuilder, the spokesman said the company had selected the yard, but could not reveal the name at this stage. However, the spokesperson confirmed that the ship’s designer is Havyard.