Kongsberg’s suite of new vessel designs brings methanol, ammonia, and hybrid-battery power into play
Norwegian marine technology player Kongsberg Maritime has unveiled a range of new vessel designs in its UT Design portfolio, which now features next-generation anchor handler (AHT) and platform supply vessels (PSV), sporting the option to boost performance with alternative energy sources and fuels, such as methanol, ammonia, and hybrid-battery power.
Kongsberg explains that its new AHT and PSV designs have received Approval in Principle from DNV to operate with ammonia-fuelled engines and can incorporate an offshore charging capable plug-in hybrid option, to enable emission-free battery-powered operation.
Einar Vegsund, Director, Ship Design Solutions, Kongsberg Maritime, commented: “Kongsberg’s iconic UT vessels have been the benchmark design for the offshore industry for the past 50 years. These latest designs combine decades of experience and the latest innovative Kongsberg technologies to offer customers next-generation ships that are equipped for the future.
“Our ship designs continue to evolve, and changes to regulations and uncertainty around preferred fuels have driven the demand to create ships that are ready for the future and give owners the confidence to invest, knowing their ships can adapt to meet future requirements.”
According to the Norwegian player, these next-generation designs are expected to help shipowners address current and future challenges around efficiency, emissions reduction, and developing market requirements in the wake of the quest for decarbonisation and greener vessels spurred by the race to net-zero.
These new designs come at a time when the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is in the process of revising its initial GHG strategy. Many experts see 2023 as a vital window of opportunity to set a zero or minimum net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target for a net-zero future from international shipping by 2050 at the latest while setting ambitious goals for 2030 and 2040 is believed to be crucial.
Martijn de Jongh, Chief Designer Specialised Vessels, Kongsberg Maritime, added: “A great deal of work has gone into ensuring this new range of ships gives owners a reduction in environmental footprint. We have drawn on the results of numerous R&D programmes including hydrodynamic optimisation, assessing offshore battery charging, and in cooperation with Amon Maritime, obtained the Approval in Principle for the use of ammonia as a fuel.”
Furthermore, the new PSV design range, UT 7400, has all the features Kongsberg deems to be required to address the latest regulations for the transport of liquid products and the growing requirement for lower emissions and environmental footprint, including energy consumption reduction, and readiness for future fuel transition.
These PSV designs come with a variety of options for the type of cargo, cargo volume, and cargo deck area, which can be configured depending on the operational profile of the vessel. Kongsberg underlines that the cargo area has been re-designed and provides options for the various products compliant with the latest OSV Chemical Code regulations, “ensuring the safe transportation and storage of hazardous materials, while optimising the structural arrangement.”
On the other hand, the company elaborates that the anchor handler range, known as UT 7800, will eventually include four sizes, ranging from small to extra-large, with bollard pulls of 180 tons for the small version, increasing to over 400 tons for the largest version of the vessel.
“The UT 7800 has been designed for initial operation in the traditional oil and gas anchor handling market, but it is very adaptable for future offshore energy developments, such as floating wind. While we are also designing ships specifically for the offshore wind market, the UT 7800 range has the benefit of being able to operate at first in oil and gas, then, if desired, it can be adapted to serve operations in new, evolving markets,” added de Jongh.
Aside from a choice of winch configurations and capacities and adaptable chain and rope handling and storage capacity, Kongsberg highlights that ROVs and cranes can also be integrated into the designs. In line with this, the deck equipment and arrangement for the largest vessels has been optimised for the larger dimensions and weights of the rope, chain, and equipment than is typical within oil and gas, enabling operations outside these markets.
“One of the great innovations the anchor handler design offers is significantly reduced energy consumption during anchor operations. This is achieved through the use of Kongsberg’s cross-tensioning system where the load testing of anchors will use the power of the winches rather than the traditional approach of one or more vessels using bollard pull and engine power. This approach will lead to significant operational cost savings, enabling this crucial offshore task to be handled by a single ship,” underscored de Jongh.
Recently, Kongsberg Maritime completed a live trial of autonomous shipping technology in Bornem, Belgium, demonstrating the progress the company made in fully autonomous systems.
This live trial comes on the heels of another demonstration of autonomous ship technology in Alesund, Norway, during which a cargo vessel completed a range of tasks autonomously as part of an operation that is seen as one of the Norwegian player’s most complex journeys at sea.