UK consortium awarded £1.5 million funding to install offshore charging station

A collaboration comprised of UK technology companies has been awarded £1.5 million in funding to install an offshore charging station within a UK wind farm.

The funding is coming from the Department for Transport and Innovate UK’s £60 million Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition (CMDC) grant which was announced earlier this month.

Marine charging solutions specialists Oasis Marine have partnered with power electronics and rapid charging company Turbo Power Systems, intelligent energy management and storage technologies provider Verlume and technology innovation and research centre for offshore renewable energy, the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, to deliver the offshore charging station. 

During the two-year project, offshore charging infrastructure will be developed for charging hybrid and electric crew transfer vessels (CTVs) and will be demonstrated over two phases.

The first will prove the transfer of power utilising Verlume’s battery and intelligent energy management technology, to charge a vessel via the Oasis Power Buoy – an offshore charging solution which allows vessels to plug in and recharge from a wind turbine – while at sea.

During the second phase, the project will work with Swedish state-owned power company Vattenfall on technical and regulatory developments, aiming to lead to an on-turbine demonstration at their European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) within Aberdeen Bay. 

AC power generated by the existing wind turbines will be supplied via Turbo Power Systems’ high power charging solution to the Oasis Power Buoy. 

During the demonstration a hybrid CTV will operate from Aberdeen Harbour to the wind farm, to then connect and recharge from the Oasis Power Buoy whilst waiting in field as maintenance technicians work on the turbines.

Enabling offshore charging from a zero-emission energy source will allow CTVs to operate on electric power for the majority of the time, extending operational range and significantly reducing emissions. The consortium says the breakthrough technology will enable full electric operation in the future.

Crew transfer vessels will be the primary focus of the project, however the concept could also be scaled for oil and gas vessels, as well as larger service operations vessel (SOV) daughter craft, the consortium partners said.

As previously reported, the Ocean Charger project, which aims to connect vessels to the power grid of wind farms, was launched in Norway last week.

Image: Oasis Marine

Rhys Berry