Danish offshore vessel specialist Maersk Supply Service and its compatriot offshore wind developer Ørsted have teamed up to test a prototype offshore charging buoy.
The buoy will act as a safe mooring point and a charging station for vessels, potentially displacing a significant amount of marine fuel with “green” electricity.
The prototype buoy has been developed by Maersk Supply Service while Ørsted is responsible for the buoy’s integration with the electrical grid at the offshore wind farm. The charging buoy will be tested in the second half of 2021, where it will supply overnight power to one of Ørsted’s service vessels.
The buoy can be used to charge the smaller battery- or hybrid-electrical vessels and to supply power to larger vessels, enabling them to turn off their engines when laying idle.
“By substituting fossil-based fuels with green electricity, virtually all emissions are eliminated while the buoy is in use,” Maersk Supply Service said.
Upon technical validation and commercial ramp up, the electrical charging buoy has significant potential, short to medium term, to contribute positively to reduce emissions for the maritime industry, the Danish offshore vessel operator said.
“This will happen through displacing tens of thousands of tons of fuel consumed every year in the wider maritime sector by enabling inactive vessels to turn engines off and replace energy consumption and charge batteries with renewable electricity. Within five years of global operation, Maersk Supply Service has the ambition to remove 5.5 million tons of CO2, additionally avoiding particulate matter, NOx, and Sox,” MSS said.
Intellectual rights publicly available
Ørsted plans to make any intellectual property created in designing the integration of the buoy into the offshore wind asset publicly available to maximize the uptake potential of this carbon reduction innovation across the offshore wind sector.
“As large parts of the global maritime fleet are getting ready to receive shore power in ports, timing is right for implementing this clean ocean-tech innovation. The charging buoy is applicable as a mooring point outside ports, in offshore wind farms, and near vicinity to other offshore installations. Additionally, it will further help limit the increasing vessel congestions and remove air pollution in port areas,” the two companies said in a statement.
Jonas Munch Agerskov, Managing Director for Offshore Renewables at Maersk Supply Service said: “The charging buoy tackles a multitude of problems; lower emissions, offering a safe mooring point for vessels, better power efficiency and eliminating engine noise. This is also a solution that can be implemented on a global scale, and one that can be adapted as the maritime industry moves towards hybridization and electrification.”
Mark Porter, Senior Vice President and Head of Operations at Ørsted Offshore:”Ørsted has set the ambitious target of having carbon neutral operations in 2025, which includes the operations of our offshore wind farms. Technical and commercial innovation is central to Ørsted’s ability to provide real, tangible solutions to achieve our operational ambitions – and we need our partners’ support. We are happy to team up with Maersk Supply Service to test this innovative charging buoy, which brings us a step closer to creating a world that runs entirely on green energy.”
For the demonstration phase of the project, Maersk Supply Service has received one of the largest EUDP grants (Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Programme, under the Danish Energy Agency) in 2020 supporting with DKK 22mn to the engineering and demonstration of the power buoy. The Danish Maritime Fund has provided initial co-financing to conceptualize the project.