Making ships that service the offshore wind sector greener and more eco-friendly is the catalyst for the cooperation between maritime company CSM Energy and technical consultant Hydrus Engineering.
CSM Energy (member of the Columbia Group) and global engineering firm Hydrus will assess and retrofit offshore support vessels (OSV) involved in offshore installations and operations, turning them into hybrid ships powered by battery and fuel.
The upgraded vessels will use significantly less fuel, reducing emissions and cutting maintenance costs for the diesel generators that power the ships.
Retrofitting existing vessels will be far quicker and much more cost-effective than building greener OSVs from scratch, according to a joint CSM and Hydrus Engineering statement on the expected demand for greener ships in the offshore sector.
“Building new vessels with a substantial or even an all-green profile will be significantly expensive and take several years before they are ready for service,” said Kyriakos Tsangaris, Technical Director at CSM Energy.
Lambros Nakos, Partner at Hydrus Engineering, added: “The current order book for new OSVs has declined since 2016, with fewer than 50 vessels ordered since the beginning of 2020. Given that OSVs already in operation will likely run for another 25 years, retrofitting them is the best option for ensuring vessels in the offshore wind farm sector are eco-friendly.”
The OSV market has struggled in recent years because of the oversupply of vessels and the declining need for oil. But demand for these ships is expected to grow as investment in the offshore wind market – now worth US$65bn compared to the offshore oil and gas sector, which is valued at $45bn – continues to rise.
“The offshore wind market is driven by moving away from fossil fuels and, as such, the green profile of the stakeholders involved is critical,” Mr Nakos said.
“Thus, in several cases, OSV market growth is closely related to the environmental profile of the vessels deployed for such services, especially for the offshore wind farm projects, where the need for green vessels operating on alternative fuels is solidified.”
Commenting on CSM Energy and Hydrus’ partnership, Mark O’Neil, CEO of Columbia Shipmanagement and President of InterManager, said: “This cooperation targets delivering innovative turn-key bespoke services for upgrading the green profile of the existing fleet servicing the offshore industry.”
Mr Nakos added: “The portfolio of services includes all steps required to assess and implement such a project, from the preliminary assessment up to the detailed engineering and retrofitting work. Through this process, the operator is given a holistic overview of the available options and justified guidance to optimum solutions.”
Services include a feasibility assessment, pre-financing evaluation, budgeting and procurement control, engineering, retrofitting, supervision and commissioning – which, Mr Tsangaris said, met the joint venture partners’ goal to “deliver a valuable asset in a rapidly growing market”.
“Columbia Shipmanagement and Hydrus Engineering offer a clear roadmap and safe passage through a challenging decision-making process for services that are tailored to the conditions and needs of each vessel,” leaders of both companies said.