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Windcat Offshore and Damen Shipyards develop Hydrogen-Powered CSOVs


Windcat has commissioned Damen Shipyards to build a series of hydrogen-powered Commissioning Service Operation Vessels (CSOVs) to be built at one of Damen’s yards in Vietnam.

The “Elevation Series” CSOVs have been designed by Damen Shipyards in cooperation with Windcat and CMB.TECH. The result is a revolutionary new design with increased capabilities and flexibility compared to existing vessels. The vessels are 87 m long, 20 m wide, can accommodate 120 people on board and will be powered by hydrogen. The series will be delivered from 2025.

The CSOVs will be built at  Ha Long Shipyard, Vietnam, and will be delivered to Windcat Offshore, a new business unit within Windcat, which will focus on offshore energy commissioning and services. Initially, two vessels have been ordered with options for further vessels. A CSOV is a vessel that remains in an offshore wind farm for an extended period of up to 30 days, providing maintenance materials and housing technicians in hotel-style accommodation. This next step in Windcat’s journey builds on Windcat’s 20 years of experience in the offshore renewable energy sector and follows four years of market and vessel design evaluation.

To significantly reduce the vessels’ CO2 footprint, Windcat and CMB.TECH, will provide the same dual fuel hydrogen technology for the Elevation Series as on board of the Hydrocat, the world’s first hydrogen powered CTV (Crew Transfer Vessel). This approach will also make a critical contribution to the development of rules and regulations related to the use of hydrogen as a fuel in medium-sized vessels.

The dual-fuel engine can be powered by hydrogen in combination with marine gas oil. Hydrogen fuel contains no carbon, and can significantly reduce carbon emissions while maintaining the same power output. The solution is being tested in Vestas’ Hydrocat 48, and the trials will run until the end of the year.

For offshore wind operators, managing the carbon emissions associated with their offshore operations is crucial. Tightening ESG requirements demand that they account for scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions. It is generally accepted that offshore operations account for around a third of scopes 1 and 2 emissions for operators; therefore, deploying hydrogen-fuelled vessels will be key.

Currently, the ship is expected to be powered mainly through gray hydrogen (from natural gas) due to a lack of available green hydrogen in the amount needed.

“Damen is committed to becoming the world’s most sustainable shipbuilder and is a recognized pioneer in the development of Service Operation Vessels, having designed and built one of the world’s first dedicated walk-to-work vessels 5 years ago. These vessels have set a benchmark in the offshore renewables market and are still performing very well in the North Sea. We are proud to work together with Windcat and CMB.TECH to build these vessels and make the groundbreaking design of the Windcat Elevation Series come to life.” –  Joost van der Weiden – Damen Shipyards.

The Elevation Series will be equipped with the latest gangway, crane, thrusters, hybrid battery technology and offshore charging capability, among other industry-leading features to be announced in the next weeks.

“I truly believe the Elevation Series is an industry-leading design, a real game changer. A design that will lead the sector in exploring hydrogen as a fuel while delivering best-in-class performance and flexibility. Only with the combined team of Windcat, CMB.TECH and Damen has this been possible. Together we have addressed the current and future CSOV sector needs while starting to answer the greater maritime industry’s challenge: how to significantly reduce our industry’s greenhouse gas emissions.” – Stephen Bolton – Managing Director Windcat Offshore.