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  • Writer's pictureSarah Whiteford

Amphibious wind farm vessel; Captain America diving vessel; Power on the sea floor

It’s Good News Monday!

This Monday we talk about:

  1. Ocean Infinity Building New Series of ‘Robotic’ Multi-Purpose Offshore Vessels at VARD

  2. RWE Building 'World's First' Amphibious Vessel for Shallow Water Wind Farms

  3. Edison Chouest begins construction of first US-built SOV

  4. M.A.R.S Buys 'Captain America' Diving Support Construction Vessel

  5. Putting Power on the Seafloor is a Fuel Cell Future

Ocean Infinity vessel on the water

“Image courtesy VARD”. Image from gCaptain.

VARD, a Norwegian shipbuilding company, has been contracted by Ocean Infinity for six new 85-meter robotic vessels. The new vessels are Multi-Purpose Offshore Vessels (MPOVs) and will bring Ocean Infinity’s remote vessel count up to 23, the most on Earth. VARD is also building eight 78-meter vessels for Ocean Infinity that are already in production. The newest vessels are “optimized for inspection, maintenance and repair and light construction work to offer remote, ultra-low carbon services to the offshore energy market.” The new vessels are expected to be delivered in 2025. Ocean Infinity uses robots for data acquisition at sea and has been a part of some high-profile deep sea finds including ships, submarines, and even a search for a MH370 aircraft that went down in the Indian Ocean.

Crew transfer vessel with amphibious capability render

“Credit: RWE”. Image from Offshore Engineer.

RWE is partnering with Commercial Rib Charters (CRC) to build an amphibious vessel to service offshore wind turbines in shallow waters, a world first. The crew transfer vessel (CTV) is being built to reach turbines at Scroby Sands wind farm in the UK, carrying 10 technicians and two crew via water or three wheels as needed. The natural rising tide of the sandbank has stranded four of the turbines from access by standard ships. The vessel should go from contract to operation in only 10 months, scheduled for work in September 2022. “The amphibious vessel is to be named ‘CRC Walrus’ in honor of R.J. Mitchells’ classic 1930’s Supermarine amphibious biplane.”

Orsted service operation vessel render

“ECO's SOV is designed to incorporate future zero-carbon emissions technology (source: Eversource)”. Image from Riviera.

“Louisiana-based Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO) has begun constructing the first US-built service operation vessel (SOV) to support offshore windfarms on the US east coast”. The new SOV will be named ECO Edison, 80 meters long, and is to be built at ECO shipyards in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida, creating over 300 new jobs. Components will also be produced in another 12 states across the midwest and south. After delivery in 2024, the vessel will operate out of Port Jefferson, New York for a joint offshore wind portfolio with Ørsted and Eversource. Power will be diesel-electric with four Caterpillar 3512E EPA Tier 4 diesel gensets for a total of 6,800 ekW and battery systems.

Captain America vessel at port

“Credit: M.A.R.S.” Image from Offshore Engineer.

The DP3 diving vessel Caballo Marango has been acquired by Modern American Recycling Services, Inc. (M.A.R.S.) and will be renamed Captain America. The vessel will be operated by Shore Offshore Services, LLC. The ship was built in 2013 at Marco Polo Shipyard and will keep its Panamanian flag with its new homeport in Pascagoula, Mississippi, where it will be serviced to get back into class by the end of the year. Captain America will have the ability to install and decommission offshore facilities, subsea work, cable work, drilling rig equipment change, and wind farm work. The vessel is 141.7 meters long and has accommodations for 399 people, with large decks and a 1000 MT crane.

Underwater power source being lowered into the ocean

“Testing the fuel cell at WTD71 in Eckernförde. Photo: Finn K. Flögel.” Image from Offshore Engineer.

A German company and a US company are both working on the goal of being able to supply long-term subsea power in remote locations for underwater vehicles and oceanographic observatories. Battery technology is still not sufficient for long-term work undersea, but two fuel cell-based projects have passed milestones that show promise. The first is GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel in Germany - they have designed a proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell to generate heat by feeding hydrogen and oxygen to a polymer membrane, with water as a byproduct. The system uses bottles of hydrogen and oxygen as fuel, with refills costing about 1/15th that of a typical battery system, able to deliver 150W to 1kW of output.

Teledyne has been testing its Subsea Supercharger system in Norway with good results. It can provide more than 3 MWh of capacity with 8kW of steady power with water and a small amount of heat as byproducts. Their solution is also a PEM fuel cell with a cell stack, water management, and hydrogen and oxygen supply sections. The whole system is deployable in a couple of hours and real-world testing has gone well, with the pump automatically transitioning from sleep to on as power demands fluctuate.

Other companies are also working on similar solutions. C-Power is deploying its SeaRAY autonomous offshore power system (AOPS) this year at a US Navy test site in Hawaii. It uses a wave energy converter (WEC) with power storage and a surface communication gateway. Power will come from a Halo subsea battery storage system from Verlume, formerly known as EC-OG. Mocean Energy is also working with Verlume batteries for its Blue-X wave energy device, planned to be tested this year, and Ocean Power is also testing wave energy devices.

Smile, it’s Good News Monday! :-)


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