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Maersk Supply Service and Ørsted to test offshore charging buoy to reduce vessel emissions

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Maersk Supply Service and Ørsted have joined forces to test a prototype buoy that will serve as both a protected mooring point and a vessel charging station, potentially displacing renewable energy from a large amount of marine fuel.

The solution, built by Maersk Supply Service, will be tested in 2021 on one of Ørsted’s offshore wind farms.

Maersk Supply Service and Ørsted have formed a collaboration to test a charging buoy capable of supplying green electricity to offshore wind farm service vessels and probably to a wide range of maritime vessels.

The buoy can be used to charge smaller battery- or hybrid-electric vessels and to supply larger vessels with fuel, allowing them to turn their motors off when idle. Virtually all emissions are removed when the buoy is in operation by replacing fossil-based fuels with renewable electricity.

Maersk Supply Service has developed the proto-type buoy, while Ørsted is responsible for integrating the buoy with the electrical grid at the offshore wind farm. The charging buoy will be tested in the second half of 2021, with one of Ørsted’s service vessels supplying overnight control.

The electrical charging buoy has considerable potential, in the short to medium term, to contribute positively to the reduction of pollution for the maritime industry, following technological validation and commercial ramp-up.

In the broader maritime sector, this would happen by displacing tens of thousands of tons of fuel consumed each year by encouraging idle vessels to turn engines off and replace energy consumption and charge batteries with renewable electricity. Maersk Supply Service has the intention to eradicate 5.5 million tons of CO2 within five years of global operation, further avoiding particulate matter, NOx, and Sox.

In order to optimize the potential for this carbon reduction innovation throughout the offshore wind market, Ørsted intends to make any intellectual property created in the design of the integration of the buoy into the offshore wind asset publicly accessible.

As large parts of the global maritime fleet are getting ready for ports to receive shore control, the timing is right for this clean breakthrough in ocean technology to be introduced.

The charging buoy is used outside ports, in offshore wind farms, and close to other offshore installations as a mooring point. In addition, it would also help to reduce the rise in vessel congestion and minimize air pollution in port areas.

“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.”

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. We are happy to team up with Maersk Supply Service to test this innovative charging buoy, which brings us a step closer to creating a world that runs entirely on green energy.”

 Mark Porter, senior vice president and head of operations at Ørsted Offshore.

Maersk Supply Service received one of the largest EUDP grants (Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program, under the Danish Energy Agency) for the demonstration phase of the project in 2020, funding the engineering and demonstration of the power buoy with DKK 22 million.

Initial funding to conceptualise the project has been provided by the Danish Maritime Fund.

Nedim Husomanovic

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