Maritime services firm Damen is introducing a fully electric service operations vessel for offshore wind, the SOV E.
The SOV E is for operations within wind farms and will be equipped with charging capabilities that will access electricity from suitably equipped turbines and offshore substations, similar to the way that electric vehicles charge.
The premise that underlies the SOV E as an emissions-free vessel is that it will recharge its batteries once a day. This is feasible due to the nature of its operational profile, where it deploys technicians to the wind turbines and then stands nearby until it is time to retrieve the personnel. The vessel will have idling time in each 24-hour period that can be used for recharging, using just a small part of the energy generated by the wind farm.
While the SOV E is capable of sailing entirely electrically, it will be equipped with diesel generators as a backup. These will not only enable it to undertake alternative duties at any point in the future, but will also increase the operational flexibility of the vessel.
Damen says it is working with industry specialists to ensure that the charger connection is safe as well as capable of charging the ship’s batteries very rapidly in all weather conditions. Research is also being undertaken to ensure that an emergency release is available in the event of immediate evacuation. The location for integrating this connection on the vessel has been carefully chosen to avoid compromising the large open deck area while benefiting from stable dynamic positioning capabilities.
The company says the operational costs of the SOV E will be substantially lower than those of a conventional SOV, taking into account fuel prices and the price per ton of CO2. Various scenarios have been evaluated, all yielding positive business-case results, according to Damen.