World-First Hybrid Daughter Craft Coming to Dogger Bank Offshore Wind Farm

Great Yarmouth-based marine and engineering specialist Alicat has won a multi-million-pound contract with North Star Renewables to build a hybrid-powered daughter craft fleet to be used on the Dogger Bank offshore wind farm.

Source: North Star Renewables

Following a competitive tender involving multiple UK shipyards, Alicat has been awarded North Star’s initial contract to bring its first two daughter craft to the renewables market.

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The vessels will utilise a combination of diesel and electric outboards, a world-first for this form of workboat, North Star Renewables said.

Designed by Southampton-based naval architects Chartwell Marine in collaboration with North Star, the daughter craft will be used to transfer technicians from their accommodation onboard North Star’s service offshore vessels (SOVs), to work on the offshore wind turbines at Dogger Bank A and B.

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Dogger Bank A and B are a joint venture between SSE Renewables (40 per cent), Equinor (40 per cent) and Eni (20 per cent). Dogger Bank C is a 50/50 joint venture between SSE Renewables and Equinor. SSE renewables is leading on the construction of the wind farm and Equinor will operate the wind farm for its lifetime of up to 35 years.

Once the third phase is completed and operational, the 3.6 GW Dogger Bank will become the biggest offshore wind farm ever built and able to generate around five per cent of the UK’s electricity.

Luca Daniele, marine & logistic leader at Equinor, said: ”It’s great to see the impact Dogger Bank is having on the UK supply chain, and to see innovative companies like Alicat benefit from building the world’s largest offshore wind farm here. Innovation and sustainability are key areas of focus for the project and we are delighted the award of this contract demonstrates both.”

The new hybrid propulsion daughter craft include stabiliser technology ensuring the vessels will not only deliver reduced carbon emissions, but provide class-leading comfort for the technicians on board whilst setting a new standard for safe operations, North Star Renewables said. It has an increased sea state operability and safe transfer, tank tested at wave heights of up to 1.7m Hs – significantly higher than any alternative wind farm daughter craft.

The first daughter craft is being delivered 12 months ahead of schedule, under the build supervision locally of North Star Group’s Boston Putford division in Lowestoft. This will allow time for performance analysis and improvements, crew training and additional development ahead of the first of three SOVs arriving from summer 2023.

”We are very excited to announce Alicat as the chosen shipbuilder for our first next generation and new breed of sustainable, reliable, comfortable daughter craft fleet, configured specifically for the renewables sector,” North Star chief operating officer and Boston Putford MD Robert Catchpole said.

”Alicat is a leader in its field and demonstrated the comprehensive technical knowledge as well as great craftsmanship and the project management skills required to deliver the first of our new fleet. We also have great confidence in their capabilities after they satisfied all the financial, commercial and QHSE criteria set out in the contract.”

North Star will be commencing a recruitment programme for new seafarers in the next six months. The firm is looking to hire around 130 onshore and offshore personnel from across the UK to support the Dogger Bank project.

”This multi-million-pound contract is a significant win for our business as it further establishes us on the renewables map as the first company in the world to build hybrid powered daughter craft, which is also the first offshore wind daughter craft to be built in the UK,” Alicat director Simon Coote, said.

“Our involvement in testing and knowledge of the new breed of outboard propulsion packages has a significant role to play in the build of these innovative vessels.”

Photo: North Star Renewables