UK Consortium Wins GBP 1.5 Million Funding for Offshore Charging Station

A collaboration of UK green technology pioneers has been awarded GBP 1.5 million in funding to install what they say is “the world’s first offshore charging station within a UK wind farm”.

Oasis Marine

The funding was awarded as part of the Department for Transport and Innovate UK’s GBP 60 million Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition (CMDC).

Project leaders Oasis Marine have partnered with Turbo Power Systems, Verlume, and the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult to deliver the Offshore Charging Station solution.

This smart energy and charging infrastructure could enable fully electric maritime operations within offshore wind farms.

A major barrier for the decarbonisation of the maritime sector is the range and duration at which electric and hybrid vessels can operate, said Oasis Marine.

Currently, vessels can only be charged within ports and most wind farms are too far from shore to allow journeys to be fully completed on battery power. Enabling offshore charging from a zero-emission energy source will allow CTVs to operate on electric power for the majority of the time, extending the operational range and significantly reducing emissions, according to the project leader.

“The impact of the infrastructure is expected to be impressive, with a predicted minimum reduction of one tonne of carbon dioxide per CTV per day of operation over the life of the windfarm”, said Carlos Neves, CEO of Turbo Power Systems.

During the two-year project, offshore charging infrastructure will be developed for charging hybrid and electric crew transfer vessels (CTVs) and will be demonstrated over two phases.

The first is said to prove the transfer of power utilising Verlume’s battery and intelligent energy management technology, to charge a vessel via the Oasis Power Buoy while at sea. During the second phase, the project will work with Vattenfall regarding technical and regulatory developments, aiming to lead to an on-turbine demonstration at their European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) within Aberdeen Bay. 

AC power generated by the existing wind turbines will be supplied via Turbo Power Systems’ high-power charging solution to the Oasis Power Buoy.

During the demonstration a hybrid CTV would operate from Aberdeen Harbour to the wind farm, to then connect and recharge from the Oasis Power Buoy whilst waiting in the field as maintenance technicians work on the turbines, Oasis Marine said.

“We are pleased to be able to support this SME-led project to deliver an industry ready solution for CTVs by 2025”, said Håkan Borgström, Deputy Director of the O&M Product Line at Vattenfall.

The infrastructure is building on the preceded development of Oasis Marine’s Power Buoy.

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Turbo Power Systems will design, build and test a high-power DC power supply for the conversion of power from the wind turbine to the charging unit.

Verlume will supply a modular battery energy storage system with integrated intelligent energy management to enable early testing and ORE Catapult will be responsible for CTV requirements, supporting a regulatory review and project management activities over this period. 

The project is supported by Vattenfall, operators of Aberdeen Bay Windfarm.

CTVs will be the primary focus of the project, however, the concept could also encompass larger service operations vessel (SOV) daughter craft, Oasis Marine said.

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