The Norwegian government awarded Maritime CleanTech partner Vard Group and the Ocean Charger project partners 38 million NOK (approx. US$3.9 million) for the development of offshore charging solutions that would support zero-emissions operations at offshore wind farms.
The Norwegian support scheme (The Green Platform Initiative) aims to accelerate the growth of green businesses in Norway. Today, Norwegian Minister of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, Jan Christian Vestre, launched the new project at a press conference in Oslo. "We are carrying out the largest restructuring of the Norwegian economy ever. Everything will become greener. It is private companies that must lead the way in this transformation, with the public sector as a supporter," Vestre said.
The three-year Ocean Charger project will kick off in 2023 and will include research, testing, validation and commercialization of new technological solutions for energy transfer to battery-powered ships such as service operation vessels (SOV) offshore.
"The offshore wind industry is becoming increasingly important not only for the green energy transition but also for national value creation," said Håvard Vollset Lien, VP of Research & Innovation in the Vard Group. "We will evaluate different solutions and business models supplying various offshore vessels with green energy. As this market is growing rapidly, we see a unique opportunity for Norway to be the leading provider."
By connecting vessels to the power grid in the wind farm and charging batteries regularly, the operational availability of emissions-free vessel operations will be secured. The aim is to power operations at the field without using any additional energy sources.
"Through this project, we will enable continuous zero-emission operations on the Norwegian continental shelf for the first time," said Maritime CleanTech Head of Innovation, Øystein Huglen.
Vard Design will lead the work together with sister companies Seaonics and Vard Electro, partners Rem Offshore, Solstad Offshore, SINTEF Energi, SINTEF Ocean, DigiCat, Sustainable Energy, Equinor, Source Energie, Corvus Energy, Plug, Shoreline, Marin Energi Testsenter, University of Bergen, Norce and Maritime CleanTech.