An illustration of VARD 2 18 vessel with ZeroClass design, specialised anchor handling vessel for zero emission operation of floating offshore wind turbines

New pilot project looking to decarbonise floating wind by using green ammonia-fuelled vessels

Blåvinge, a consortium comprising Fred. Olsen Seawind, Hafslund and Ørsted, has launched a pilot project that aims to explore whether installation vessels for floating offshore wind, and in particular anchor handling vessels, can use green ammonia as an energy carrier for maritime operations.

Illustration of VARD 2 18 with ZeroClass design, specialised anchor handling vessel for zero emission operation of floating offshore wind turbines; Image: Vard Design AS

The goal of the project, initiated under the Green Shipping Programme (GSP), is to bring forward zero-emission solutions for the installation and operation of floating offshore wind turbines which, according to the three partners, may already be employed for the Utsira Nord floating wind project in Norway.

the participants have ambitions for the project to enable the use of green ammonia for anchor handling ships in the installation and operational phase of Blåvinge’s floating offshore wind project at Utsira Nord.

“If we are successful with this pilot, it will be a solid contribution that can make Utsira Nord the world’s most sustainable floating offshore wind project”, said Blåvinge’s Erlend Gjelstad Jakobsen.

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In Norwegian waters, emissions from offshore vessels currently account for the single largest emission item, due both to great activity on the Norwegian continental shelf, and also to the fact that energy-intensive operations are being performed, according to the consortium.

“Installation and maintenance of offshore wind farms require extensive use of offshore vessels and especially anchor handling vessels. A 100 per cent emission reduction can only be achieved through carbon-neutral fuels, such as green ammonia. If we are successful with the project, it means that the installation of offshore wind turbines can be done with significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions than is possible today”, Jakobsen said.

The Green Shipping Programme is a partnership between private and public actors whose goal is to contribute to Norway developing the world’s most efficient and environmentally friendly shipping.

Blåvinge is the pilot owner for the new project in GSP, together with DNV and a number of other partners, including the ship designer and shipbuilder Vard.

In the first phase, the participants in the GSP must carry out a feasibility study which involves assessing technical and financial feasibility. In addition, framework conditions and possible barriers for local value chains for ammonia will also be studied.

“In addition to realising emission reductions for floating offshore wind in Norway, we see a potential for further use and application of the technology in the Norwegian and international offshore industry”, said DNV’s Magnus Eide, who is the project manager for GSP.

Norway is home to the currently largest floating wind farm in the world, Hywind Tampen, and to several floating wind turbines being tested at the METcentre site.

In March this year, the Norwegian government opened the application window for two offshore wind areas, Southern North Sea II and Utsira Nord, with the latter designated for floating wind projects.

The area has a capacity of 1.5 GW, which the government divided into three sites, each of which can accommodate a wind farm of 500 MW.

The winners of the auction are expected to be announced by the end of 2023.

Ørsted teamed up with Fred. Olsen Seawind and Hafslund last year, when the companies revealed their plans to participate in the Norwegian tenders, both for the fixed-bottom offshore wind and the floating wind sites.

At the beginning of this month, the consortium also emerged as one of the partners of Norwegian Offshore Wind’s accelerator programme designed to foster the growth of startups and scaleups in the offshore wind industry.