The PIEZO concept platform supply vessel (PSV) has now been presented after 3 years of research. From the PIEZO project, VARD have developed a conceptual design for a PSV with the primary source of energy being batteries and offshore charging.
One of the greatest challenges facing the maritime and petroleum industries is climate change. For the past 3 years, the partnership between VARD and Equinor, SINTEF, The Research Council of Norway, Corvus Energy and Solstad Offshore have analysed the need for Plugin Electric vessels to sail emission-free in the North Sea, with charging facilities offshore and onshore.
PIEZO has been used to identify energy consumption models, from on-board measurements by application of big data methods and developed a digital simulation to test a plug-in electric PSV design. The project has also identified positive solutions to the technical challenges of re-charging ships offshore and as a result, are now being used as part of our Ocean Charger project.
High quality in-service data has also been collected by Solstad Offshore which formed the basis of the research.
“We saw a great need to develop precise digital simulations of energy systems and a great potential within electrification and utilization of large battery packages in the offshore market. With PIEZO, we got a useful arena to research both these development aspects in parallel.”
Henrik Burvang, Research and Innovation Manager at VARD Design.
Research has been taking place at VARD Design, VARD Electro, and was assisted by SINTEF Ålesund. SINTEF is one of Europe’s largest research organisations and therefore have conducted independent research using digitalization, virtual prototyping and simulation, and machine learning, with special focus within maritime, fisheries, and aquaculture. As a result of the collaborative project a digital simulation twin that behaves identically to Solstad’s PSV has been produced.
“Vard Design has developed out digital simulation modelling tools, which have now been verified by collected data over two years. Furthermore, we have developed a new model based on battery-electric propulsion and a brand-new PSV design.
Using as little energy as possible is crucial for zero-emission ships. With simulations like this, we will be able to get a full overview of the energy flow in the ship before building it, and that is one of the reasons why this simulation model is a potentially powerful tool for future projects.”
Further support for the project has come from Corvus Norway AS with models to ensure accurate simulation models for dimensioning of battery packs, life cycle analysis and battery arrangements. Corvus Norway are at the forefront of adapting hybrid-electric propulsion technology, which is a new trend in the marine industry. Many innovative electric and hybrid projects occurring within the industry are powered by Corvus Energy battery systems.
“We see that the concept of battery-electric PSVs is feasible and when we now also realize offshore charging through our innovation Ocean Charger, this will be very attractive for the offshore and renewables market. The research project PIEZO has laid the foundation for our new all-electric concepts.
Solstad Offshore and Equinor have a great interest in the electric PSV concept and the infrastructure of charging offshore and have been important contributors when it comes to the operational perspective. They spar with us on the concept and solutions and give us feedback on what is realistic.”
Vard Design and Vard Electro are part of The VARD group who have built the equivalent of 35 % of the 160 PSVs in Norway’s active fleet. Around 50 PSVs in their current fleet are over 15 years old and will need restoration to meet new environmental demands. They have estimated that there is the potential for at least 10 new plug-in electric PSV’s just in Norway by 2030.
“There is a long process behind what will now be a zero-emission ship. Even before we started looking at fuel, we had been working for several years on the next generation PSV concept. This includes major improvements in propulsion and hull resistance. Because regardless of the fuel, it’s about reducing energy consumption for the mission the boat will do.”
Thomas Olsvik, VP Conceptual Design at VARD Design.
VARD have developed a tool to ensure a greater understanding between customer and others involved due to hull optimisation being an important part of the project. However, hull optimisation is not enough alone as VARD have a great responsibility to reduce energy consumption with their design disciplines.
“The tool makes it possible to optimize the hull design early in the project. Thus, the hull design can be optimized for the operation the customer will perform. This means that we can sit down with the customer and show how the choices they make will affect their energy consumption.”
Thomas Brathaug, Principal Naval Architect Conceptual Design at VARD Design.
“The hull development has become very good, but there are several other things we need to look at – both we at VARD and those who will use the ship. Many PSVs are too big, and we have a lot of improvement to do when it comes to, for example, interior design, operation, and other support systems. In the future, I think we will see more specialized PSVs.”
Thomas Olsvik, VP Conceptual Design at VARD Design.
The collaboration between Concept Design and Research & Innovation is essential to ensure that VARD focuses on looking ahead rather than just on individual projects. Thomas Olsvik has suggested that an all electric PSV could be in operation in no more than three years if all goes according to the plans.
“The technology is there. Now it’s just a matter of finding the balance in terms of finances, range, and so on. In theory, we could see an all-electric PSV in operation earlier, but it must work out for both tenant and shipowner. Either way, we at VARD are ready.”
News and images sourced from VARD