Upgrading vessels with hybrid propulsion and batteries can help to secure new contracts; and vessels could be adapted to gain work in the offshore renewables sector, said experts discussing the latest trends in the OSV sector during Riviera’s How can you retrofit your OSV fleet to future proof your competitiveness? webinar
This event was held during Riviera’s Offshore Webinar Week in partnership with premier partner Wärtsila on 19 January 2021.
Panellists were DNV GL segment director for OSVs and special ships Arnstein Eknes, Østensjø Rederi chief project officer Egil Arne Skare and Wärtsila senior sales support engineer for project services and hybrid sales Svein Mannes.
This webinar captured the essence of a growing trend in offshore support with more vessel owners considering retrofitting vessels with hybrid propulsion.
Mr Eknes said owners should retrofit their vessels to increase their competitiveness and reduce operational expenditure. “There are incentives for retrofitting and upgrading vessels,” he said.
Charterers, authorities and banks are pushing decarbonisation agendas, presenting opportunities for owners to retrofit vessels to provide services to the offshore renewables sector. There is also funding available to facilitate upgrading OSVs with greener propulsion.
“On board vessels, more owners have thought about installing batteries in upgrades, depending on the operating case, to save on maintenance and fuel,” said Mr Eknes. “This adds value for both charterers and owners.”
Mr Skare offered an owner’s perspective with examples of how Østensjø Rederi is benefiting from state-funded retrofits and diversification into offshore renewables.
“We have 25 vessels in the fleet – all are in operation and none are laid up,” said Mr Skare. “Important factors are designing relevant vessels, future-proofing their design and keeping high maintenance levels,” he explained.
Østensjø Rederi has four service operating vessels under construction in Spain and they will have battery, hybrid and shore power capabilities. It also has plans to retrofit three existing vessels – Edda Ferd, Edda Fauna and Edda Flora – with batteries and hybrid propulsion.
“We are implementing energy savings,” said Mr Skare. “Batteries act as a spinning reserve for dynamic positioning (DP), reducing genset use by 50%,” he added. Batteries replace one genset on these vessels, reducing them from four to three, while maintaining redundancy.
Mr Mannes explained how batteries are also used for peak shaving and optimising energy operations.
He said engines on OSVs are often operating at less than 50% load, perhaps 30-40% at times. “Optimising engines means operating fewer engines for the required load,” said Mr Mannes. “One engine can have a 60% load instead of two at 30% load.”
Peak shaving evens out these loads on the engines, reducing fluctuations and strain on machinery. “Batteries reduce fuel consumption, emissions and maintenance requirements,” said Mr Mannes.
“We have seen a huge increase in hybrid retrofits in the OSV sector, especially for DP operations, for fuel savings and reducing running hours and maintenance,” he concluded.
The majority of webinar attendees said their companies were planning or investigating retrofitting vessels with hybrid propulsion.
Around 43% said their company was planning for hybrid systems and 37% said they were investigating hybrid systems, but without commitment.
Another 12% said it was not something contemplated by the company; 6% said hybrid systems would not feature in their plans for the foreseeable and 2% it was not a direction they would be taking in the foreseeable future, even though it had been investigated.
When asked what the main considerations are when upgrading with hybrid solutions, 54% said it is finding the right technical solution, another 34% said costs were the main consideration and 12% are more interested in ensuring this system was a future-proof concept.
Most attendees agreed with Mr Eknes’ opinion that retrofitting vessels should increase their competitiveness. Of the attendees that responded in the polls, 54% agreed improving fleet competitiveness in their company was the highest priority and 37% strongly agreed, with just 9% disagreeing.
Attendees were then asked what their primary reason was for selecting a hybrid solution. 58% of attendees said it was because lower emissions are required to win new contracts. Another 24% said it was lower fuel consumption, 14% thought it was future legislation and 4% to reduce maintenance.
Other survey questions and answers were below:
The fuel of choice for OSV newbuildings in 10 years will be...
Diesel fuel: 6%
Liquefied hydrogen: 41%
LOHC hydrogen stored as an oil: 9%
None of the above: 5%
I think retrofitting is waste of time and money, we should rather focus on building new vessels
Strongly agree, we should build new: 3%
5: Strongly disagree, retrofits make sense – 36%
We have plans for retrofitting our OSV vessels
I do not know: 25%
Not now but we would like to have such plans: 27%
If zero-emissions OSVs are available on the market within 10 years, what will be the consequence for the existing fleet of OSVs?
No consequence – business as usual: 20%
Loss of market share and scrapping: 80%
Panellists of Riviera’s How can you retrofit your OSV fleet to future proof your competitiveness? webinar were (left to right) were DNV segment director for OSVs and special ships Arnstein Eknes, Østensjø Rederi chief project officer Egil Arne Skare and Wärtsila senior sales support engineer for project services and hybrid sales Svein Mannes