Carisbrooke Shipping to install solar cells on its vessels after triumph at sea

UK shipowner Carisbrooke Shipping has signed a letter of intent with Anglesey and Manchester-based Grafmarine to utilise their NanoDeck AI Solar tile management solution.

Image credit: Carisbrooke Shipping

The shipping company will install the solar cells on its vessels to manage and store renewable energy following successful trials in Equatorial waters.

The companies have worked in partnership over the last 12 months, with Carisbrooke providing Grafmarine with a marine vessel to test their NanoDeck technology.

The solution can be attached to any flat surface – in this case, a cargo ship – to capture, store and remotely manage clean energy generation via AI solar technology. The system is estimated to have a capacity to reduce a ship’s emission profile by around 10 percent, rising up to 40 percent in five years.

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This included a return voyage from Scotland to West Africa, when the NanoDeck sent live data that gave both organisations a better understanding of how the equipment will withstand the rigours of a marine environment. The first vessel to install this solution was the UAL Osprey, with plans to roll it out to multiple vessels when additional tests are concluded.

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“We are extremely excited to be the first trialling such innovative technology, which is already providing promising results. With further modifications and upgrades, we hope Grafmarine will find a viable solution not only for Carisbrooke but also the wider shipping industry to reduce their emissions and provide sustainable shipping above and beyond the goals set by the IMO (International Maritime Organization),” Captain Simon Merritt for Carisbrooke Shipping said.

Under the partnership framework, the crew on the vessel will support Grafmarine with basic maintenance and monitoring of the hardware and solar cells. They will be trained on how to operate the system and access will be given to Grafmarine and partners to carry out assessments and collate results.

Grafmarine Commercial Director Nigel Marc Roberts said the collaboration will help support the IMO’s vision for a cleaner renewable power source to reduce the industry’s massive impact on the environment due to greenhouse gas emissions.

“Our tests with Carisbrooke demonstrated the technology does work and provided us with data that will allow us to improve the system further,” he added.

“Trialling it in Equatorial waters gave us a sense of how many efficiency gains can be made and has given us even more confidence in the Nanodeck as a clean, affordable, and sustainable alternative to fossil fuels.

“We thank Carisbrooke for their support and look forward to continuing the relationship.”

Grafmarine also has test locations in the Celtic Sea via the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapults (ORE) new test buoy at the Marine Energy Test Area (META), as well as a sustainable smart-port platform in the Port of Tyne and plans for further sites across Europe.

Carisbrooke has also partnered with London-based tech startup Carnot Ltd whose consortium has been awarded £2.3M to develop a zero-emission hydrogen auxiliary engine demonstrator.

Following design, simulations and rigorous testing, the single-fuel hydrogen 50kW engine will be integrated into a containerised system and mounted on the deck of one of Carisbrooke’s cargo vessels for a 40-day sea trial in early 2025 to partially supply electrical power to the vessel.