Energy provider Ørsted and energy service and support provider ESVAGT announced a new agreement to invest in the world’s first green fuel vessel for offshore wind operations, in a move aimed at helping to decarbonize the maritime sector and the offshore wind industry.

The new service operation vessel (SOV) will be powered by batteries and dual-fuel engines, capable on sailing on renewable e-methanol produced from wind energy and biogenic carbon. According to the companies, the vessel will enable reductions of 4,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions yearly. Ørsted intends to supply the e-methanol and ESVAGT will build the SOV.

ESVAGT will start building the SOV in the second quarter of 2022, with commissioning anticipated for the end of 2024. The vessel will serve Hornsea 2, the world’s largest offshore wind farm, which is being developed by Ørsted.

Søren Karas, Chief Strategy and Commercial Officer at ESVAGT said:

“This is an important milestone with real meaningful impact on the green transition. Ørsted and ESVAGT share an ambition for a sustainable future, and as an industry leader we’re committed to taking the lead in decarbonising the maritime industry. We’re delighted and proud to be able to take this bold step together with Ørsted towards making offshore wind marine solutions fossil free with an innovative new solution.”

According to Ørsted, the maritime sector urgently needs new green fuels, which come at a higher cost than fossil-based alternatives, to reach carbon neutrality. An offshore wind farm already has 99% lower emissions than a coal fired power station, seen over the entire lifetime of an asset, and today’s agreement will be a step on the way towards mitigating the remaining emissions.

Ørsted stated that the decision to invest in the new green fuel SOV supports the company’s goal of becoming carbon-neutral in its energy generation and operations by 2025, as well as its science-based target of reaching net zero across its full value chain by 2040. Last year, the company announced plans to grow its renewable energy capacity to 50 GW by 2030 from 12 GW, as well as plans to invest $57 billion in green energy from 2020 to 2027.

Mark Porter, Head of Offshore Operations at Ørsted, said:

“As the world leader in offshore wind, it’s natural for Ørsted to take the lead in driving out fossil fuels from the industry. We’ve set clear targets and a clear direction towards net-zero emissions, and this new methanol-powered SOV is a tangible proof of our clear commitment to realise these targets. The agreement with ESVAGT checks many boxes for us, as it both helps decarbonise our offshore operations while also demonstrating our strong belief that green fuels based on renewable energy is the most viable solution to create a green maritime sector.”