Windcat and Damen develop “future-proof” hydrogen-fueled CSOVs

Written by Nick Blenkey
hydrogen fueled CSOV on station

Elevation Series” hydrogen-fueled CSOVs have been designed by Damen Shipyards in cooperation with Windcat and CMB.TECH.

CMB Group’s offshore personnel transfer subsidiary Windcat has placed an order for the construction of a series of hydrogen-powered Commissioning Service Operation Vessels (CSOVs), with Damen Shipyards.

The “Elevation Series” CSOVs have been designed by Damen Shipyards in cooperation with Windcat and CMB.TECH. The result is a design that, in addition to being hydrogen-fueled, offers increased capabilities and greater flexibility than existing vessels. The Elevation Series vessels are 87 meters long, 20 meters wide, can accommodate 120 people on board and will be equipped with the latest gangway, crane, thrusters, hybrid battery technology and offshore charging capability, among other advanced features to be announced in coming weeks.

The CSOVs will be built at Ha Long Shipyard, Vietnam, and will be delivered to Windcat Offshore, a new business unit within Windcat that will focus on offshore energy commissioning and services. Initially, two vessels have been ordered with options for further vessels.

A CSOV is a vessel that remains in an offshore wind farm for an extended period of up to 30 days, providing maintenance materials and housing technicians in hotel-style accommodations. This next step in Windcat’s journey builds on the Lowestoft, U.K., based company’s 20 years of experience in the offshore renewable energy sector and follows four years of market and vessel design evaluation.

To significantly reduce the vessels’ CO2 footprint, Windcat and CMB.TECH, will provide the same dual fuel hydrogen technology for the Elevation Series as used in the Hydrocat, the world’s first hydrogen powered CTV (Crew Transfer Vessel). This approach, they say, will also make a critical contribution to the development of rules and regulations related to the use of hydrogen as a fuel in medium-sized vessels.

“Damen is committed to becoming the world’s most sustainable shipbuilder and is a recognized pioneer in the development of Service Operation Vessels, having designed and built one of the world’s first dedicated walk-to-work vessels 5 years ago,” said Joost van der Weiden, sales manager Benelux at Damen Shipyards. “These vessels have set a benchmark in the offshore renewables market and are still performing very well in the North Sea. We are proud to work together with Windcat and CMB.TECH to build these vessels and make the groundbreaking design of the Windcat Elevation Series come to life.”

“After 20 years of developing the CTV business in all aspects of vessel design, construction and operations, we started 4 years ago to lay the foundations for the creation of a ground-breaking CSOV design,“ said Robbert van Rijk, managing director and cofounder of Windcat. “I am pleased that we have been able to expand our CSOV sector specific knowledge with the initial appointment of Stephen Bolton as managing director Windcat Offshore. With this order we are now positioned to offer best-in-class services to both the CTV and CSOV sector on a side by side basis.“

Signing the contract for the hydrogen-fueled CSOVs
Signing the contract for the first hydrogen-fueled CSOVs: Arnout Damen (CEO Damen Shipyards), Alexander Saverys (CEO CMB) and Ludovic Saverys (CFO CMB).

“We are very proud and happy that less than two years after the integration of Windcat into the CMB family, we are able to take a significant strategic step by investing in these state-of-the-art hydrogen-fueled CSOVs and leverage CMB.TECH’s hydrogen know-how to bring hydrogen to the offshore wind industry,” said Alexander Saverys, CEO of CMB (Compagnie Maritime Belge). “I would like to thank Damen Shipyards for the excellent collaboration so far and am convinced that this is the beginning of a strong and long-term relationship between our groups.”

“CMB and Damen are family companies that both value long lasting relationships where collaboration takes place in an open and constructive manner,” said Arnout Damen, CEO of Damen Shipyards. “Both organizations also see a bright future for the offshore renewables sector and demand for vessels that fullfil the aspirations of their end clients for energy that is clean throughout the production and delivery process. We look forward to a successful and long lasting relationship with CMB.TECH.”

hydrogen-fueled  CSOV
The hydrogen-fueled CSOVs will be built at Ha Long Shipyard, Vietnam.
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