Photo: Solstad Offshore

Aiming for industry’s greenest fleet of vessels, Solstad goes on decarbonisation quest with Wärtsilä

Norwegian offshore vessel owner Solstad Offshore has turned to the Finnish technology company Wärtsilä in a bid to reduce the carbon footprint of its fleet and achieve its decarbonisation ambitions including full carbon neutrality by 2050.

Wärtsilä informed on Tuesday that Solstad Offshore had enlisted its services with the aim of achieving a 50 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030, seeing this partnership as a key to finding the right solutions.

Tor Inge Dale, Head of Sustainability at Solstad Offshore, remarked: “Cooperation is essential if we are to implement the solutions needed to succeed with the green shift that is underway. For this reason, we at Solstad are partnering with forward-looking companies such as Wärtsilä who have the expertise, experience, and innovative technologies required.”

Furthermore, the agreement between the two companies aims to identify, evaluate, and implement solutions that will increase fuel efficiency and significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from Solstad’s offshore vessels. In addition, each vessel will be assessed for appropriate solutions, possible operational improvements and life extension considerations.

Wärtsilä and Solstad Offshore will collaborate to identify opportunities to decarbonise the operators’ fleet.
© Wärtsilä
Wärtsilä and Solstad Offshore will collaborate to identify opportunities to decarbonise the operators’ fleet; Source: Wärtsilä

Cato Esperø, Head of Sales, Wärtsilä Norway, commented: “Solstad has a clear and ambitious strategy to become the owner and operator of the industry’s greenest fleet of vessels. We are happy and proud to have been selected to collaborate in this major decarbonisation project. Since no single solution will be relevant to every ship, by working together we intend to find what works best and most efficiently on a case-by-case basis. We see this as a blueprint for achieving the best possible results.”

Since Solstad hopes to reach full carbon neutrality by 2050, in its efforts to reduce the carbon footprint from its 90-vessel fleet, the company has worked systematically to reduce emissions since 2009, both through operational measures – Solstad Green Operations – and technical upgrades. These efforts have so far resulted in average fuel consumption per vessel being reduced by more than 20 per cent.

Moreover, the further reduction to 50 per cent is expected to be reached by optimising energy efficiencies, and by retrofitting the vessels to operate with alternative fuels such as hydrogen, ammonia, and methanol, while new ship designs must be capable of offering low or zero emissions from the outset, according to Wärtsilä’s statement.

Roy H. Stavland, Senior Sales Manager at Wärtsilä, explained: “It is too early to determine which solutions will prove to be the most appropriate for meeting the GHG emission reductions envisioned by Solstad. However, it is extremely likely that future propulsion solutions operating with new alternative fuels, such as ammonia and/or methanol, will be key enablers as these fuels become widely available for bunkering.”

Initially, Wärtsilä will act as an advisor and technical expert for Solstad, while the agreement also allows the company to act as a possible supplier for the decarbonisation solutions selected.

The Finnish company further added that it had created a world first by successfully operating a combustion engine on a fuel mix with 70 per cent ammonia content and it is currently developing capabilities to use even higher proportions of the fuel. An engine fuelled with a 70 per cent ammonia blend passed Wärtsilä’s laboratory tests successfully back in July 2021.

In October 2021, the company signed a cooperation agreement with Eidesvik Offshore to retrofit an offshore supply vessel (OSV) with an ammonia-fuelled combustion engine along with the required safety system and fuel supply.

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At the time, Eidesvik reported that this conversation project was the first of its kind in the world, and provided a provisional completion target for the project, stating that it was scheduled for late 2023.

Wärtsilä is contributing to the development of the world’s first emissions-free offshore vessel operating with an ammonia-powered fuel cell, as the two companies have partnered to equip a platform supply vessel, Viking Energy, with a 2MW fuel cell running on green ammonia in the EU-funded ShipFC project with the installation scheduled for late 2023.