Project to Retrofit CTV with Hydrogen Fuel Cells Kicks Off

A project to retrofit a crew transfer vessel (CTV) with hydrogen fuel cells, to cut CO2 and NOx emissions while servicing offshore wind farms, has kicked off.

Phase 1 of Project Verdant, supported by the UK’s national innovation agency Innovate UK, is now underway involving a preliminary design and feasibility study. If the concept is deemed viable subsequent project phases will seek to execute the concept design and test it in the field.

Project Verdant’s conceptual design incorporates hydrogen fuel cells that are connected to electric motors, which can work in conjunction with the existing diesel-fuelled engines, which can be shut down to enable zero emission operation at slow speed while working within offshore wind farms.

This hybrid system could reduce the vessel’s CO2 emissions by up to 30 per cent and NOx emissions by up to 40 per cent.

The project consortium is led by Orkney-based Green Marine and is being supported by project partners Waves Group and European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC).

“In recent years several new-build hydrogen-powered vessels have been launched, but our current objective is to develop a system that can be easily retrofitted to CTVs that would enable them to be powered by hydrogen fuels cells when in loiter mode for a substantial portion of the day,” said Jason Hayman, the naval architect leading Project Verdant for Green Marine.

“In the coming weeks and months, we will be engaging with industry leaders and technical experts to develop the design and specifications of the system. A viability assessment will then be undertaken to ensure any risks identified during the project can be adequately addressed or mitigated, and the design is capable of meeting or exceeding the criteria established.”

Green Marine’s Managing Director Jason Schofield said the ultimate objective is to capture sufficient learning from the operation of a retro-fitted vessel to enable Green Marine to expand its fleet with new-build zero emissions crew transfer vessels (ZE CTVs) and ultimately service operation vessels (SOVs), to support installation and maintenance activities in offshore wind farms in the UK and further afield.

According to the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, the offshore support sector will be worth around GBP 26 billion (around EUR 30 billion) by 2050, and an additional 1,200 vessels will be needed to service the UK industry and support the transition to net zero.

Approximately 400 CTVs are currently operating in offshore wind farms around the UK and Europe, and this could increase to 700 by 2030, according to the press release.

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