The world’s first offshore charging station within a UK wind farm for hybrid and electric crew transfer vessels (CTVs) is to be installed by a coalition of UK green tech companies. The companies include Oasis Marine, Turbo Power Systems, Verlume and the ORE Catapult. During the two-year project, offshore charging infrastrutcure will be devloped in Aberdeen Bay. The project aims to lead to on-turbine demonstration at Vattenfall's European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC).
Besides being a facinating proof of concept of new technology, the project is driven by a major barrier for the decarbonisation of the martime sector which overalps with the automotive sector. In the martime sector, the range and duration at which electric and hybrid vessels can operate is limited. Currently vessels are charged within ports and most wind farms are too far from port to allow journeys to be fully completed on battery power. This is identical to the problem faced in decarbonising the automotive sector where adoption of fully electric vehicles is limited by issues relating to battery range and the limited availability of charging points.
The project aims to have an industry ready solution to recharging at sea by integrating systems with a working wind farm by 2025. It will be facinating to see if this is the start of extending the use-case for hybrid and electric vessels much in the same way the use-case for hybrid and electric vehicles has been extended.