Photo: Esvagt/Ørsted

Ørsted and Esvagt investing in ‘world’s first’ green fuel service operation vessel

Danish companies Ørsted and Esvagt have decided to invest in what the companies describe as the world’s first service operation vessel (SOV) that can operate on green fuels.

The SOV will be powered by batteries and dual-fuel engines, capable of sailing on renewable e-methanol, produced from wind energy and biogenic carbon, which will lead to a yearly emission reduction of approximately 4,500 tonnes of CO2, the companies said.

Esvagt will start building the vessel in the second quarter of 2022. Once commissioned by the end of 2024, the SOV will start servicing the world’s largest offshore wind farm, Hornsea 2, off the UK’s east coast.

The maritime sector is said to urgently need new green fuels, which today come at a higher cost than the fossil-based alternatives.

By ordering the new SOV, Ørsted and Esvagt said they are showing their commitment to a green maritime sector and helping create the needed demand to accelerate cost reductions of green fuels for the maritime industry.

The investment decision is also said to send a clear signal that the future for both service and installation vessels is green.

Ørsted intends to supply the e-methanol for the new SOV.

An offshore wind farm already has 99 per cent lower emissions than a coal-fired power station, seen over the entire lifetime of the asset, including production, construction, and installation. The move by Ørsted and Esvagt is expected to be a step on the way towards mitigating the remaining emissions.

Furthermore, the decision to invest in the new green fuel SOV supports Ørsted’s target of becoming carbon-neutral in its energy generation and own operations by 2025 and is a tangible example of the company’s decarbonisation journey towards its science-based target of reaching net-zero emissions across the full value chain by 2040, the world’s leading offshore wind developer said.

Ørsted is the first energy company in the world with a science-based net-zero target, validated by Science Based Targets initiative.

”As the world leader in offshore wind, it’s natural for Ørsted to take the lead in driving out fossil fuels from the industry,” Mark Porter, Head of Offshore Operations at Ørsted, said.

”We’ve set clear targets and a clear direction towards net-zero emissions, and this new methanol-powered SOV is a tangible proof of our clear commitment to realise these targets. The agreement with ESVAGT checks many boxes for us, as it both helps decarbonise our offshore operations while also demonstrating our strong belief that green fuels based on renewable energy is the most viable solution to create a green maritime sector.”

Over the past two years, Ørsted has built up a portfolio of green fuel projects, three of which focus on producing e-methanol for maritime transport. The portfolio includes a newly announced project on the US Gulf Coast, which will supply 300,000 tonnes of e-methanol for A.P. Moller – Maersk’s fleet of zero-emissions vessels, as well as the projects ‘Green Fuels for Denmark’ and FlagshipONE in Sweden. Both projects can supply around 50,000 tonnes of e-methanol for shipping in 2024-2025.

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”This is an important milestone with real meaningful impact on the green transition. Ørsted and ESVAGT share an ambition for a sustainable future, and as an industry leader we’re committed to taking the lead in decarbonising the maritime industry. We’re delighted and proud to be able to take this bold step together with Ørsted towards making offshore wind marine solutions fossil free with an innovative new solution,” Søren Karas, Chief Strategy and Commercial Officer at Esvagt, said.

Ørsted said that the company has implemented a systematic approach for reducing emissions from its offshore logistics through efficiency initiatives, including route optimisations and sailing at fuel-saving speeds. The company has also implemented light hybrid crew transfer vessels for increased fuel efficiency.