The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult and the Workboat Association (WA) are to develop a technology roadmap for the decarbonisation of North Sea offshore wind operations and maintenance (O&M) vessels.
The partners have been chosen by UK Government to produce a roadmap in 2021 that will consider key areas such as vessels, ports and alternative fuels.
The Department for Transport (DfT) and the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) are funding the research and an accompanying industry engagement programme, in the UK and in the EU, before the UK hosts COP26 in November 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland.
UK registered vessels make up the largest market share of the global offshore wind <500gt vessel sector, the WA said.
WA chief executive Kerrie Foster said the collaboration with ORE Catapult and the subsequent award of the UK Offshore Wind Innovation Roadmap is an “important step forward for us in our ambition to steer the industry on its journey in maritime decarbonisation ahead of net zero 2050”.
“The outcomes of this project are fundamental to both our UK membership and external membership, with benefits directly affecting the wider international offshore wind and workboat sectors,” Foster added.
ORE Catapult and the WA will initially undertake one-to-one interviews and focus groups with a wide range of stakeholders, including wind farm and port operators, vessel designers, operators and ship builders and electrical and alternative fuel producers.
Distribution and storage providers, maritime regulators, certification and market experts, as well as local, regional and national government departments and agencies will also be consulted.
The programme will inform the roadmap, due in spring 2021, which will recommend a set of clear, evidence-based guidelines with an aim to inform industry, investors and policymakers on how to best decarbonise the sector.
Maritime minister Robert Courts said: “Our maritime sector is vital to the success of the UK’s economy, but emissions create a global challenge, requiring an international solution.
“With over £20m being invested into greener maritime, and an ambitious Clean Maritime Plan to cut carbon across the sector, the UK is turning the tide on reducing emissions.
“I look forward to seeing these projects propel new opportunities for innovation to help deliver a better, greener maritime sector.”
Vattenfall O&M engineer and roadmap lead for the company Hernan Vargas said: “As an operator of offshore wind farms we are committed to enhancing the sustainability of the way that we operate these sites, including the vessel logistics needed to move out technicians, tools and parts to and from the wind farm.
“Decarbonising maritime logistics is a real focus for our business and we welcome the initiative from UK government to help develop a better understanding of some of the technical, regulatory and market challenges involved.”