Maersk, Port of Aberdeen to Explore Building Offshore Vessel Charging Hub

Maersk’s offshore charging company, Stillstrom, and Port of Aberdeen have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to perform a joint feasibility study into a vessel charging hub that would use offshore wind or other renewable energy source.

Running until the end of this year, the study will analyse the benefits, use cases, fundamental requirements, economics, and stakeholder involvement.

The final product of the partners’ feasibility study will be a roadmap for the potential introduction of offshore charging infrastructure at the Port of Aberdeen that would significantly reduce emissions from vessels on standby outside the port, according to Maersk Supply Service, which developed the offshore charging concept.

“The feasibility study we will undergo with Port of Aberdeen is a cornerstone in our go-to-market strategy for our ‘Ports & Hub’ segment. Together with Port of Aberdeen as a close partner, we will be able to map and show the true value of utilising electricity for idling vessels – which we expect will not only support the journey towards a net-zero ocean economy and a better near coastal environment, but also an economically attractive solution for vessels owners to utilise“, said Stillstrom CEO Kristian B. Jorgensen.

Maersk Supply Service introduced the concept in September 2020, when it said it had joined forces with the offshore wind major Ørsted to test a prototype buoy that will act as both a safe mooring point and a charging station for vessels on one of Ørsted’s offshore wind farms.

In January of this year, the company launched Stillstrom (‘quiet power’ in Danish) and said that it would demonstrate the world’s first full-scale offshore charging station for vessels at an offshore wind farm in the third quarter of this year.

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The buoy will supply overnight power to one of Ørsted’s Service Operations Vessels (SOV), with Ørsted responsible for the grid integration of the charging buoy.

The charging buoy itself is large enough to charge an SOV-sized battery- or hybrid-electric vessel. The same solution will be scaled and adapted to supply power to larger vessels, enabling vessels of all sizes to turn off their engines when lying idle, the company said at the beginning of this year.

According to Maersk, Stillstrom’s offshore charging concept is relevant for multiple stakeholders across ocean industries, from offshore renewables to idling merchant vessels within ports and hubs.

The concept provides a platform for vessels to utilise electricity from either offshore wind or grid-energy, eliminating the need for vessels to consume fossil fuels while idling. The solution also allows for the charging of battery packs on applicable vessels, Maersk says.

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Photo: Stillstrom / Maersk Supply Service