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Offshore Support Journal

US owner ‘electrifying’ LNG-fuelled PSVs

Mon 15 Apr 2019 by John Snyder

US owner ‘electrifying’ LNG-fuelled PSVs
Wärtsilä will supply an energy storage system, energy management system, transformer and drive, all mounted inside a single container

Four years ago, platform supply vessel Harvey Energy became the first US ship fuelled by LNG when it went on charter to Shell in the US Gulf of Mexico. Harvey Energy will make history once again in 2020 as the first US-flag, dual-fuel, battery hybrid-powered PSV, after a retrofit at New Orleans-based Harvey Gulf International Marine’s shipyard.

“The LNG-fuelled vessel can already outperform any PSV vessel in the [US Gulf of Mexico] today in terms of speed, emissions, lower cost for fuel and lower fuel burn,” Harvey Gulf International Marine chief executive Shane Guidry tells Offshore Support Journal. “We want to continue to bring lower emissions and lower fuel cost savings to our customers,” said Mr Guidry.

For Harvey Energy's refit, Harvey Gulf International Marine (HGIM) has contracted Wärtsilä to supply an energy storage system, energy management system, transformer and drive, all mounted inside a single container. Wärtsilä will deliver its battery-hybrid module to HGIM’s Gulf Coast Shipyard Group (GCSG) in Gulfport, Mississippi in December.

Wärtsilä said installing a Wärtsilä 1,450-kW battery-hybrid module will reduce exhaust emissions, fuel consumption and noise levels. Overall fuel costs are estimated to be reduced by 10-20%. Additionally, Harvey Energy will be able to sail to and from Port Fourchon, Louisiana on only electric power, using its battery at the dock to lower noise and emissions. The retrofit should also result in less running hours on the engines, reducing maintenance costs.

Built at GCSG, Harvey Energy was one of a series of six PSVs based on a Vard 1 311 design from Vard Marine (formerly STX Marine) ordered from the shipyard. Harvey Energy has an overall length of 92 m, beam of 19.5 m, with a clear deck area of 974 m2 and dynamic positioning class 2 capability. Five of the PSVs were delivered for contracts in the US Gulf of Mexico.

Retrofitting Harvey Energy is only the start of the transformation of HGIM’s fleet. Mr Guidry said all of HGIM’s LNG-fuelled PSVs will have battery-hybrid power installed. He said an order has already been signed for the next vessel Harvey Supporter.

This is not the first time Wärtsilä has worked with HGIM. Each of HGIM’s LNG-fuelled PSVs have three Wärtsilä 6L34DF dual-fuel gensets that generate 7.5 MW of power and Wärtsilä’s LNGPac system, which has a capacity of 295,000 litres of LNG. Integrating the existing Wärtsilä power distribution, power management and integrated automation systems will be part of the retrofit project.

Mr Guidry said Wärtsilä was the natural choice to partner with on the battery-hybrid retrofit. He said that as a result of Wärtsilä’s support none of the five LNG-fuelled PSVs in Harvey Gulf’s fleet experienced unscheduled downtime. “We believe our mutual project will have a considerable impact in the market and will further the environmental drive towards sustainable solutions in the offshore market space.”

Mr Guidry also sees advantages of battery power in dynamic positioning (DP) operations. He said HGIM’s PSVs “DP in much harsher environments and they offload below-deck cargo 40% faster.”  The ability to operate on battery power will assist manoeuvrability during DP operations. As compared with combustion engines, batteries respond well to rapid load changes which are quite normal during DP conditions in rough sea conditions.

Harvey Energy is not the first PSV to undergo a battery-hybrid retrofit with Wärtsilä. Most recently, Norway-based Eidesvik Offshore replaced one of the dual-fuel engines in PSV Viking Princess with a Wärtsilä hybrid power module.

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