The growing adoption of hybrid battery power solutions by the marine industry has spilled over into the offshore segment, with the recent, successful retrofitting of a hybrid lithium battery power solution aboard Seacor Marine’s 87m x 18.8m OSV Seacor Maya.
Owned by MexMar, Seacor Marine’s joint venture in Mexico, the vessel has subsequently been hailed as the first of its kind to adopt such a system in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM), resulting in significant reductions in CO2, NOx and SOx emissions. The system was installed on the 2015-built OSV by Bollinger Shipyards of Louisiana, US in late 2017, and the vessel then undertook sea trials in May this year.
John Gellert, Seacor Marine chief executive, comments: “We have long believed that cutting-edge hybrid power technology has the potential to improve vessel efficiency while reducing fuel consumption and emissions by as much as 20%. Early indications from the sea trials of Seacor Maya put us well within reach of this target.”
Gellert adds: “As governments tighten emissions standards, this technology will be a key competitive differentiator, leaving us well placed to take advantage of an upturn in the market.”
The switchover to hybrid power solutions hasn’t ended there: similar installations have been arranged for MexMar’s PSVs Seacor Azteca, Seacor Warrior and Seacor Viking, all of which are expected to be completed by September this year.
Additionally, Seacor is currently overseeing installations of identical hybrid power systems aboard six newbuilds currently under construction at COSCO’s facility in Guangdong, China. These six vessels will be rolled out between late 2018 and 2020.
All four existing MexMar vessels have adopted the Li-ion battery-based Orca Energy Storage System (ESS), which is manufactured and supplied by Corvus Energy, which has been active in supplying hybrid energy solutions in the workboat and fast ferry sectors. Kongsberg Maritime, meanwhile, was contracted to link the hybrid power to the vessels’ control, power monitoring and dynamic positioning systems.
Kongsberg explains: “As a single supplier for the upgrades, [our] responsibility [included] supply and full integration of the energy storage system with a custom-designed Energy Control System [ECS], and the existing dynamic positioning [K-Pos DP-22] and Integrated Automation System [K-Chief 700 IAS], both of which [have been] upgraded as part of the contract.”
During this retrofit project, Seacor worked closely with US-based class society ABS. As a result, Seacor says, Seacor Maya became the first ABS-classed OSV to carry the new class notation BATTERY-Li – a notation that will now be applied to the other three MexMar-owned Seacor vessels. This builds on ABS’ previous Guide for Use of Lithium Batteries in the Marine and Offshore Industries, which was originally published in May 2017 (and updated earlier this year) and which was produced to lay down safety guidelines for vessel designers and shipbuilders, as well as owners and operators, related to the installation of battery power systems and the safe operation of the vessels that incorporate them.
The spate of Seacor-related installations is good news for Corvus Energy, which has been making steady inroads into the offshore marine sector over the past few years.
The company’s Li-ion-based ESS has been installed aboard Østensjø’ Rederi’s multipurpose supply vessels Edda Ferd (92.2m) and Edda Freya (150m), for example, both systems aboard these vessels having been integrated with units of Siemens’ BlueDrive PlusC electric propulsion solution. Additionally, Corvus Energy was contracted to retrofit its Orca ESS system aboard Farstad Shipping’s 94.7m PSV Far Sun, at the request of that vessel’s long-term charterer, Statoil.