The solution, developed by Maersk Supply Service, will be tested on one of Ørsted’s offshore windfarms in 2021.
The buoy can be used to charge smaller battery- or hybrid-electrical vessels and to supply power to larger vessels, enabling them to turn off their engines when idle.
By substituting fossil-based fuels with green electricity, virtually all emissions are eliminated while the buoy is in use. Ørsted is responsible for the buoy’s integration with the electrical grid at the offshore windfarm.
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.
“On technical validation and commercial ramp up, the electrical charging buoy has significant potential, in the short to medium term,” said Maersk. “It can contribute reducing emissions for the maritime industry.
“This will happen through displacing tens of thousands of tonnes 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.”
Maersk said that, within five years of operation, it hopes to remove 5.5 million tons of CO2 from its operations, additionally avoiding particulate matter, NOx, and SOx. Ørsted intends to make any intellectual property generated in integrating the buoy into an offshore windfarm publicly available, in order to maximise uptake.
The companies believe that apart from offshore windfarms, the buoy has potential applications in ports and at other offshore installations.
It could, they believe, help to reduce air pollution in and around port.
Maersk Supply Service managing director offshore renewables said Jonas Munch Agerskov said, “The charging buoy tackles a multitude of problems. It reduces emissions, offering a safe mooring point for vessels, provides better power efficiency and eliminates 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.”
Ørsted Offshore senior vice president and head of operations Mark Porter said, “Ørsted has set the ambitious target of having carbon neutral operations in 2025, which includes the operations of our offshore windfarms.
“Technical and commercial innovation is central to Ørsted’s ability to provide real, tangible solutions to achieve our operational ambitions.
“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.”
For the demonstration phase of the project, Maersk Supply Service has received one of the largest Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Programme grants to be awarded in 2020 and will receive DKK 22 million for engineering and demonstration of the buoy.
The Danish Maritime Fund provided initial co-financing for the project.