EnvironmentEuropeOffshoreOffshore WindOperations

Maersk takes cold ironing concept out to sea

Maersk Supply Service and Danish utility Ørsted have joined forces to test a prototype buoy that will act as both a mooring point and a charging station for vessels. The solution, developed by Maersk Supply Service, will be tested on one of Ørsted’s offshore wind farms in 2021.

The charging buoy will be able to bring green electricity to offshore wind farm service vessels and potentially to a wide range of maritime vessels if the project takes off. The buoy can be used to charge the smaller battery- or hybrid-electrical vessels and to supply power to larger vessels, enabling them to turn off their engines when laying idle.

This solution can be adapted as the maritime industry moves towards hybridisation and electrification

The prototype buoy, which has received significant funding from the Danish state, has been developed by Maersk Supply Service while Ørsted is responsible for the buoy’s integration with the electrical grid at the offshore wind farm. The charging buoy will be tested in the second half of 2021, where it will supply overnight power to one of Ørsted’s service vessels.

Upon technical validation and commercial ramp up, the electrical charging buoy has significant potential, the two partners claim, to contribute positively to reduce emissions for the maritime industry. This will happen through displacing tens of thousands of tons of fuel consumed every year in the wider maritime sector by enabling inactive vessels to turn engines off and replace energy consumption and charge batteries with renewable electricity. Within five years of global operation, Maersk Supply Service has the ambition to remove 5.5m tons of CO2, additionally avoiding particulate matter, NOx, and Sox.

Ørsted intends to make any intellectual property generated in designing the integration of the buoy into the offshore wind asset publicly available to maximise the uptake potential of this carbon reduction innovation across the offshore wind sector.

“The charging buoy tackles a multitude of problems; lower emissions, offering a safe mooring point for vessels, better power efficiency and eliminating engine noise. This is also a solution that can be implemented on a global scale, and one that can be adapted as the maritime industry moves towards hybridisation and electrification,” said Jonas Munch Agerskov, managing director for offshore renewables at Maersk Supply Service.

“Ørsted has set the ambitious target of having carbon neutral operations in 2025, which includes the operations of our offshore wind farms. Technical and commercial innovation is central to Ørsted’s ability to provide real, tangible solutions to achieve our operational ambitions – and we need our partners’ support,” said Mark Porter, head of operations at Ørsted Offshore.

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Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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