First Methanol-Fueled Wind Farm SOV to be Built by Esvagt and Ørsted

first e-methanol feuled SOV off offshore wind farm service
Esvagt and Orsted partnered to build the world's first e-methanol-fueled SOV to service a UK wind farm (Orsted)

Published Apr 8, 2022 4:44 PM by The Maritime Executive

Danish shipping firm Esvagt, which says it pioneered SOVs for wind farm service more than a decade ago, plans to start construction on what it is calling the world’s first green fuel vessel SOV. In an agreement with offshore wind farm developer Ørsted, the companies will start construction on the new vessel due to go into service by the end of 2024.

The new SOV, which will be the largest in Esvagt’s current fleet of nine SOVs, will be powered by dual-fuel engines capable of sailing on renewable e-methanol along with batteries. Ørsted intends to supply the e-methanol for the vessel which will be produced from wind energy and biogenic carbon. According to the companies, this will lead to a yearly emission reduction of approximately 4,500 tonnes of CO2.

Esvagt reports that construction of the vessel will begin at an unnamed shipyard in the second quarter of 2022. It is described as being 305 feet in length with a 64-foot beam and a maximum draught of approximately 21 feet. Its service speed will be 14 knots and it will provide accommodations for 124 persons.

“This is an important milestone with a real meaningful impact on the green transition,” said Søren Karas, Chief Strategy and Commercial Officer at Esvagt. “We’re delighted and proud to be able to take this bold step together with Ørsted towards making offshore wind marine solutions fossil-free with an innovative new solution.”

According to the companies, the maritime sector urgently needs new green fuels, which today come at a higher cost than the fossil-based alternatives. By ordering the new SOV, Ørsted and Esvagt said they are showing their commitment to a green maritime sector and helping create the needed demand to accelerate cost reductions of green fuels for the maritime industry.

“We’ve set clear targets and a clear direction towards net-zero emissions, and this new methanol-powered SOV is a tangible proof of our clear commitment to realize these targets,” said Mark Porter, Head of Offshore Operations at Ørsted. “The agreement with Esvagt checks many boxes for us, as it both helps decarbonize our offshore operations while also demonstrating our strong belief that green fuels based on renewable energy are the most viable solution to create a green maritime sector.”

Once commissioned, the SOV will start servicing the world’s largest offshore wind farm, Hornsea 2. Located approximately 55 miles off the UK’s Yorkshire coast in the North Sea, Hornsea 2 being developed by Ørsted achieved first power in 2021 and is due for completion this year. When fully operational, Hornsea 2 will consist of 165 Siemens Gamesa 8 MW wind turbines with a total generation capacity of 1.2 GW, surpassing the neighboring Hornsea 1 as the largest offshore wind farm. Ørsted is also working on Hornsea 3 with Hornsea 4 currently in the planning in the planning process.

Servicing an offshore wind farm takes a great deal of effort and is handled by a highly specialized team of service technicians that are often offshore for weeks at a time. During their stay offshore, the technicians live on a Service Operation Vessel (SOV), which also hosts an onboard workshop and much of the equipment and spare parts needed to service an offshore wind farm.

The company said that the new SOV will incorporate the newest technologies. The SOV is designed for comfort and high workability, providing a highly efficient workspace and safe transfer of technicians at the wind farm via a motion-compensated gangway and transfer boats as well as a crane to lift heavy spare parts. As a floating home, it also offers recreational activities for the onboard crew and technicians, including fitness facilities, a game room, a cinema, and individual accommodation. The SOV is also equipped with a helipad for fast access and transfers from shore.