U.K. consortium to build world’s first eSOV

Written by Nick Blenkey
Bibby Marine eSOV

Image: Bibby Marine

A consortium led by Bibby Marine is to receive U.K. government matching funding for the construction of what, they say, will be the world’s first zero-emission electric service operation vessel (eSOV). With a powerful 20 MWh battery system and dual fuel methanol engines for back up, along with associated shore-charging facilities, the eSOV is being built to deliver emission and cost savings and to showcase leadership in U.K .content and design,

Partnered with Bibby Marine in the project, announced today at London International Shipping Week, are the Port of Aberdeen, the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, Kongsberg, DNV, Shell and Liverpool John Moores University.

The eSOV project is receiving the funding as part of the Zero Emissions Vessels and Infrastructure competition (ZEVI), which was announced in February 2023. As part of ZEVI, the U.K. Department for Transport allocated over GBP 80 million to 10 flagship projects supported by 52 organizations from across the U.K. to deliver real world demonstration clean maritime R&D projects. Projects will take place in multiple locations from the Orkney Isles to the southwest of England.

“We are excited to receive this funding and to work with our partners to launch the world’s first eSOV – the first new vessel for Bibby Marine in five years,” said Bibby Marine CEO, Nigel Quinn. “This project is the natural progression of our decarbonization journey, which began in 2019, to find the right solution to achieve our net-zero goals.

“We strive to be the U.K.’s cleanest and most committed SOV operator, and our commitment to innovation and sustainability drives us towards these zero-emission solutions,” said Quinn. “This project is a crucial part of this vision and is in keeping with our own Environmental and Social Governance framework and net zero targets. The project will catapult our efforts for our own green future, resulting in Bibby Marine having one of the most advanced, efficient, and environmentally friendly SOVs on the market.”

Andrew Macdonald, director of development and operations at ORE Catapult, said: “We are delighted to be supporting Bibby and partners in a project to create the world’s first zero-emission e-SOV – delivering a vessel capable of operating solely on 20MWh of batteries.

“ORE Catapult will play an important role in understanding the lifecycle fuel savings of a zero-emission vessel, and what can be done to maximize U.K. content within this market.

“This project will strengthen and demonstrate the ability of UK industry as a partner in design, manufacture and certification of the 300 vessels of this kind needed in Europe by 2050.”

Lucas Ribeiro, regional manager, Region West Europe at DNV said: “At DNV we are very pleased to have been chosen as the preferred classification partner for the first zero-emission U.K. e-SOV. We look forward to working closely with Bibby Marine and the consortium partners on this innovative design.

“The number of fully electric and hybrid vessels will surge over the next few years and continuing development on these technologies will be a key part of the maritime industry’s transition to a zero-carbon future. DNV is looking forward to combining our extensive technical, offshore, renewable and battery experience, working in ensuring a successful fully compliant and future proof vessel delivery.”

“Shell is delighted to be part of this consortium, verifying the framework to manage maritime risk for the world’s first zero-emission e-SOV,” said Alexandra Ebbinghaus, GM marine decarbonization at Shell: “This is an exciting project that will push the industry forward and help decarbonise short-sea shipping, whilst continuing to prioritise safe and efficient operations. We look forward to supporting our long-term customer, Bibby Marine, as well as strengthening our collaboration with Kongsberg Maritime, DNV, the Port of Aberdeen and other consortium members.”

Categories: News, Offshore, Offshore Wind Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,