Vard Electro dual-battery pack to reduce emissions for Siem Offshore subsea vessel

Source: press release, 26 October 2021

photo: VARD
photo: VARD

Vard Electro has secured an order with Siem Offshore to deliver its largest battery package to date for a vessel retrofit as the Norwegian shipowner proactively upgrades its fleet with hybrid power in pursuit of greener and safer operations with lower fuel costs.

The newly signed contract covers Vard Electro’s SeaQ Energy Storage System (ESS) with two battery packs and a DC link, which will be installed in the first quarter of 2022 on one of Siem Offshore’s subsea construction vessels lined up for work in the wind sector.

The system will enable the vessel to operate in fully electric mode with zero emissions while manoeuvring in harbour or other restricted areas and will deliver estimated fuel savings of up to 20%, according to Vard Electro Head of Commercial Sales, Gisle Anderssen.

The SeaQ ESS stores excess energy, either generated by the vessel or derived from shore connections with renewable power sources, to replace engines running on fossil-based fuels that drive propulsion and thruster systems.

Cutting fuel consumption and engine maintenance costs
Battery storage will be used as a spinning reserve in place of generator sets, enabling the vessel to run on fewer engines with more optimal load while still maintaining the requirement for redundancy.

An added benefit with batteries is peak shaving that takes the strain off the engines during big load variations by levelling the power and delaying the need for engines to restart.

This results in significantly lower fuel consumption and reduced maintenance costs due to less wear-and-tear on engines.

“A significant benefit of battery storage is that it enhances the responsiveness of propulsion and other systems due to instant power response in line with load variations, offsetting slower ramp speeds with less responsive engines,” Anderssen says.

This is particularly useful for offshore support vessels that are heavily dependent on DP systems for fast manoeuvrability in safety-critical situations, he explains.

The batteries for Siem Offshore will be supplied together with a DC grid for power distribution to consumers, with control and monitoring of the battery storage solution handled by the SeaQ Energy Management System (EMS) that interacts with existing control systems onboard.

“The flexibility of the SeaQ ESS system that enables it to be easily integrated with a vessel’s existing systems, as well as its advanced functionality, were key factors in our selection of Vard Electro for this retrofit to reduce our environmental footprint,” says Jon A. Houge, Operations Manager of Siem Offshore.

Adaptable modular system for different types of vessels
Vard Electro will act as system integrator for the turnkey project that will entail engineering, installation, integration, testing, and commissioning of the system comprising batteries, DC grid, EMS, energy storage inverter, filter and/or transformer, fire detection, and a cooling and ventilation system.

Anderssen says there is increasing demand for such hybrid retrofits both for offshore support vessels such as PSVs as well as larger ships, with Vard Electro’s modular system highly adaptable for ease of installation on a wide variety of vessels with minimal downtime.

“We are very pleased to have won this initial contract with Siem Offshore and look forward to collaborating with them on this project as well as possible future deliveries of battery systems,” he says. “The award is further vindication of the proven efficacy of the SeaQ battery technology in optimising engine performance to deliver big fuel efficiency gains for shipowners amid increasing regulatory and market demands for low-carbon vessel operations.”

It is the latest in a string of similar deliveries of battery storage systems from the leading ship technology supplier’s SeaQ range that have demonstrated significant fuel savings for vessel operators while also reducing emissions since the first system was delivered 5 years ago.