Wärtsilä has signed an agreement with Eidesvik Offshore to install a hybrid propulsion system with batteries on its vessel Viking Princess.
Viking Princess will thus become the first offshore supply vessel (OSV) on which batteries reduce the number of generators on board (other offshore vessels have already been fitted with batteries which augment generators but do not replace them). The new energy storage solution will improve engine efficiency, generate fuel savings and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The vessel currently uses four engines supplied by Wärtsilä that are capable of burning liquefied natural gas (LNG). Depending on the vessel’s task and weather conditions, engine load varies between 90 per cent and 20 per cent.
The new energy storage solution replaces one of the vessel’s four generators and will provide ‘balancing energy’ to cover the peaks in demand, resulting in a more stable load on the engines. “In essence,” said Wärtsilä, “the technology is similar to that in hybrid cars – it keeps the engine load from dipping and re-routes surplus energy to charge a battery, which in turn can fill in when needed.”
The operating profile of OSVs is variable, so there is significant potential for fuel savings through improved engine efficiency. In dynamic positioning mode, when the battery is used for enhanced redundancy and the engine runs at its most efficient load, Wärtsilä says the fuel saving potential is 30 per cent. As a result, Viking Princess could have CO2 emissions 13-18 per cent lower on average every year, depending on operating conditions.
“Eidesvik and Wärtsilä have had a long and fruitful co-operation since 2003, when Viking Energy, the world's first LNG-driven supply vessel, was launched. The co-operation was developed further with the installation of batteries on Viking Lady in 2015. Now Viking Princess will become the first OSV in which one of its generators will be fully replaced with batteries. We are grateful to both Wärtsilä and the NCE Maritime Clean Tech, who made this important development possible,” said Vermund Hjelland, vice president technical development at Eidesvik Offshore.
Enova SF, a Norwegian state enterprise owned by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE) supported the project with NKr6.5 million (US$780,000) to accelerate sustainable energy production in the maritime sector. Wärtsilä will install the hybrid system in September 2017.
“The hybrid energy system is a forward-looking solution that not only reduces fuel consumption and emissions, but also contributes to safer and more efficient operations,” said Cato Esperø, sales director at Wärtsilä Norway. “We are confident that this project will have a positive effect on the industry. There is an increasing focus in shipping on reducing emissions and we believe that shipowners will continue to install hybrid solutions on existing vessels and newbuilds.”