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Bibby Marine and an U.K. Consortium to Build World’s First eSOV

Posted on September 13, 2023

Bibby Marine and consortium partners are delighted to announce the successful awarding of funding from the Zero Emission Vessel Infrastructure (ZEVI) competition. This trailblazing initiative sees the construction of the world’s first zero-emission electric Service Operation Vessel (eSOV).

The announcement made today, Monday, 11 September, at London International Shipping Week, sees the Bibby Marine led consortium of Port of Aberdeen, Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, Kongsberg, DNV, Shell and Liverpool John Moores University working in collaboration. The award comprises of match funding to build this pioneering vessel – the first of its kind and a huge step towards achieving the marine industry’s net-zero ambitions.

The eSOV, with a powerful battery system and dual fuel methanol engines for back up, along with associated shore-charging facilities, will showcase leadership in UK content and design, deliver emission and cost savings.

Bibby Marine CEO, Nigel Quinn said: “We are excited to receive this funding and to work with our partners to launch the world’s first eSOV – the first new vessel for Bibby Marine in five years. This project is the natural progression of our decarbonisation journey, which began in 2019, to find the right solution to achieve our net-zero goals.

“Designed in the UK, the vessel will be a game changer for our industry – supporting its ambitions to turn the UK into the world’s number one centre for green technology, create jobs and accelerate our path to net zero, by harnessing the best of British technologies. The vessel also offers the opportunity for customers to increase local content and will shine a light on UK innovation.”

The ground-breaking project has far-reaching implications for the industry. With nearly 40GW of new offshore wind capacity to be added in the UK alone by 2030, equating to between 62 and 149 vessels, there is a clear need to develop and implement innovative solutions. The eSOV will help accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy and our learnings from this project will help inform and shape the learnings for the rest of the industry.

He continued: “We strive to be the UK’s clean and most committed SOV operator, and our commitment to innovation and sustainability drives us towards these zero-emission solutions. This project is a crucial part of this vision and is in keeping with our own Compass values, Environmental and Social Governance framework and net zero targets. The project will catapult our efforts for our own green future, resulting in Bibby Marine having one of the most advanced, efficient, and environmentally friendly SOVs on the market.”

Andrew Macdonald, Director of Development and Operations at ORE Catapult, said: “We are delighted to be supporting Bibby and partners in a project to create the world’s first zero-emission e-SOV – delivering a vessel capable of operating solely on 20MWh of batteries.

“ORE Catapult will play an important role in understanding the lifecycle fuel savings of a zero-emission vessel, and what can be done to maximise UK content within this market.

“This project will strengthen and demonstrate the ability of UK industry as a partner in design, manufacture and certification of the 300 vessels of this kind needed in Europe by 2050.”

Lucas Ribeiro, Regional Manager, Region West Europe at DNV said: “At DNV we are very pleased to have been chosen as the preferred classification partner for the first zero-emission UK e-SOV. We look forward to working closely with Bibby Marine and the consortium partners on this innovative design.

“The number of fully electric and hybrid vessels will surge over the next few years and continuing development on these technologies will be a key part of the maritime industry’s transition to a zero-carbon future. DNV is looking forward to combining our extensive technical, offshore, renewable and battery experience, working in ensuring a successful fully compliant and future proof vessel delivery.”

Alexandra Ebbinghaus, GM Marine Decarbonisation Shell: “Shell is delighted to be part of this consortium, verifying the framework to manage maritime risk for the world’s first zero-emission e-SOV. This is an exciting project that will push the industry forward and help decarbonise short-sea shipping, whilst continuing to prioritise safe and efficient operations. We look forward to supporting our long-term customer, Bibby Marine, as well as strengthening our collaboration with Kongsberg Maritime, DNV, the Port of Aberdeen and other consortium members.”


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