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ABL electrifying zero-emission offshore charging station

Energy and marine consultancy ABL is working in a consortium with the world leading vessel owner and operator, Bibby Marine, and the UK’s leading technology innovation and research centre for offshore renewable energy, the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, to provide technical and operational consultancy for the development of zero-emission offshore charging to power wind farm service vessels.

The project is funded by the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition (round 4) – a UK Department of Transport (DfT) initiative via InnovateUK to accelerate the decarbonisation of the maritime industry . It will consider requirements for the provision of green offshore charging infrastructure, integrated with an offshore wind sub station’s (OSS) electrical network, to support vessels equipped with offshore charging capabilities, such as electrical service operation vessels (eSOVs).   

The development of offshore charging has the potential to enable zero-emissions operations of offshore vessels, such as SOVs and CTVs, by allowing the on-board battery banks to be recharged at an offshore wind farm sub-station (OSS), thereby enabling the vessel to run almost exclusively on green battery power. 

Such an approach requires the use of offshore charging assets (charging buoys or charging reels) to be integrated into the offshore electrical infrastructure. Integration of this is not straightforward from either the technical perspective of integrating into the offshore electrical infrastructure, but also from an operational perspective in terms of procedures training and risk assessment. ABL’s objective is to identify challenges and risks, and technical requirements for the integration process and future operations.

Julius Partridge

“The use of novel offshore charging infrastructure requires consideration of the operational procedures, training and novel hazards associated with its operation. These will each be addressed in the project work, advancing industries knowledge of this exciting technology and addressing the barriers that remain to deployment of offshore charging in UK waters.”

Dr Julius Partridge, Principal Electrical Engineer, ABL

The project commenced in April 2024 and is expected to be concluded early 2025.

Last year, ABL’s sister company and independent vessel design branch, Longitude Engineering, was contracted to a Bibby Marine-led consortium, to provide ship design services for the world’s first zero-emission electric Service Operation Vessel (eSOV), which will operate in the UK and European offshore renewables markets.  

ABL along with ABL Group companies OWC – the renewable energy consultants, and Longitude – the engineering consultants – provides a comprehensive offering to support clean shipping solutions and electrification of vessels, spanning technical advisory, engineering and design, and consultancy.

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