In what is believed to be a world first in the anchor handler market, Maersk Supply Service will install a hybrid-battery solution on one of its anchor handling tug supply (AHTS) vessels, advancing its ambitious CO2 emissions goals for its fleet
The Danish OSV owner plans a 50% reduction in its carbon intensity compared to a 2018 baseline across its fleet by 2030. “There’s a growing expectation by customers that you have tangible commitments and targets towards decarbonisation,” Maersk Supply Service chief operating officer Mark Handin told OSJ. Noting that battery upgrades are one of the key technologies to assist in reducing CO2 emissions from existing offshore vessels, Mr Handin said the technology has been well proven in the platform supply vessel market.
“To the best of our knowledge we’re the first to take this proven concept into the anchor handling market. So, we’re excited about it,” he said. “We’re confident that we can achieve upwards of a 15% reduction in CO2 emissions and fuel savings at the same time.”
Maersk Supply Service will install a hybrid-battery solution from Wärtsilä on 2018-built, M-class diesel-electric AHTS vessel Maersk Minder. The offshore supply vessel (OSV) owner said it selected Wärtsilä for the project because its “extended battery life and the innovative design allow for reduced vessel emissions, reduced maintenance and increased operational performance.”
Operating in the Norwegian North Sea starting in Q3 2021, DP2-capable Maersk Minder will be upgraded in late 2021 or early 2022, depending on delivery time of the solution.
“The responsibilities for anchor handling vessels vary considerably from heavy tows of offshore floating units to subsea work in dynamic positioning mode,” noted Maersk Supply Service head of technical organisation Allan H Rasmussen. “With the specialised tasks and variety of operational capabilities, it is important that we thoroughly test the vessel setup utilising the batteries and validate the CO2 savings during the first few months of operations.”
Mr Handin said, “Wärtsilä, our technical partner, has lots of experience installing these systems on similar engines.”
The Wärtsilä Low Loss Hybrid battery system (LLH) integrates with conventional engines, such as those found on Maersk Minder, according to Wärtsilä account manager Kenneth Bang. “Our Low Loss Hybrid system offers significant efficiency improvement by running the engines on optimal load and absorbing many of the load fluctuations through batteries. We see this renewable LLH solution as a great fit for anchor handling tug supply vessels,” added Mr Bang.
Since 2018, Maersk Supply Service has reduced its carbon intensity by more than 13% across its fleet. In addition, it has allocated resources for the coming years to continue with technical upgrades to reduce its emissions further.
One piece of the puzzle
“We have larger CO2 commitments and ambitions,” said Mr Handin, adding “this is one piece of the puzzle to get to our target of reducing our CO2 intensity by 50% by 2030.”
A several million dollar investment, the hybrid-battery upgrade is just one of several steps Maersk is taking to achieve its decarbonisation goals.
Maersk Minder, for example, will be fitted with a shore power connection, allowing it to recharge its batteries. “This vessel is now targeted for the north Norwegian market, where most of the main ports serving the offshore industry have been or are in the process of being fitted for shore power supply service. We’re in the process of designing and testing an offshore charging buoy, which is a separate business line we’re developing, but the goal would be that this would be compatible, not only for shore power, but these offshore charging buoys as well,” he said.
Additionally, Mr Handin noted that crew behaviour has a pivotal role to play in the company’s decarbonisation efforts. He said some of Maersk Supply Service’s existing vessels have been retrofitted with energy advisory systems – a combination of sensors and software – that “allow the captain and chief engineer to understand on a real-time basis how their engines are reacting, how fuel efficient they are at any given time.” This allows them to make informed real-time decisions on how to configure the optimal load on the engines.
Other initiatives at Maersk Supply Service include the retrofit of variable frequency drives to increase energy efficiency and a biofuel trial in the near future. While he wasn’t able to disclose too many details on the trail, Mr Handin said there are benefits from blending environmentally friendly biofuel with marine gasoil to reduce CO2 emissions from its fleet.
“Our focus thus far has been on our existing fleet and how to improve behaviours, how to do some smart and cost-effective retrofits,” said Mr Handin. “But at some point in the future, what does the next generation of OSVs look like? While retrofitting is effective, designing from the new construction phase can be even more effective. That’s where we can benefit from our association with Maersk Mc-Kinney Møller Centre for Zero Carbon Shipping, where they’ve got lots of smart people looking at the next technology. There’s probably some technologies that haven’t even been invented yet that we will… implement in our future newbuild programme – whenever that day comes.”
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