A consortium led by Morek Engineering has received funding to design a new low-carbon installation vessel said to “set a new standard for environmental performance associated with the construction and maintenance of floating offshore wind,” according to Bob Colclough, managing director of Morek Engineering.
Funding was received from the UK government’s Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition Round 4 (CMDC 4), a programme run under the Department for Transport. Although the exact amount of funding received by the vessel project was not mentioned by the company, CMDC 4 allocated £33 million between 33 projects.
Colclough explained that the vessel will be designed “to meet the complex installation requirements of floating offshore wind farm moorings and foundations,” whilst also addressing greenhouse gas emissions from the operation and maintenance of offshore wind farms.
Highlighting the extent of the latter issue, Ian Godfrey, managing director of Tope Ocean, a fellow member of the consortium, said that, the greenhouse gas emission from offshore wind farm operation and maintenance vessels constituted over 3% of the UK’s domestic shipping emissions in 2022 and, with targets to increase onshore wind capacity to 50GW by 2050 (compared to 14GW in 2023), Godfrey predicted that this emission share is likely to “to rise to well over 10% as this pipeline is realised through a ‘business-as-usual’, fossil fuel vessel scenario.”
The outline vessel design is predicted to be ready for engagement with classification societies so as to achieve approval, by 2025.
Colclough added: “We are aiming to be included in the national shipbuilding strategy, cementing the UK position to deliver Net Zero 2050. Our next generation vessel will help accelerate the growth of the floating offshore wind market around the world, providing low-carbon installation and maintenance.”
Other members of the consortium include Solis Marine Engineering, First Marine Solutions and Celtic Sea Power.