The Periscope network has to set out to to assess the emerging potential of offshore charging stations and to kick-start innovative projects and business development together with industry and research across the North Sea region.
Offshore charging stations
Electrification of the seas has captured the imagination of the maritime community. The shipping industry is one of the largest and fastest growing sources of global CO2-emissions, putting electric and hybrid technologies for marine propulsion and zero emission ships are on the agenda. Costs of construction and maintenance of electric engines are forecasted to be below other propulsion systems because they are less complex and can last three times longer. Sophisticated lithium-ion batteries are powering the first semi-electric ferries in Scandinavia. They reduce CO2-emissions by 95% and operating costs by 80%. China claims to have produced fully electric ships with a battery capacity of 2,400 kWh, can navigate at a speed of up to 12.8 km per hour fully loaded, and travel up to 80 km on a single 2.5-hour charge.
Conventional approaches for battery charging can be applied to electrically operated ships. However, wireless (inductive) charging is under development- further eliminating the need for onsite support staff and connection cables. Onshore electric supply systems deliver over 3.000 MW for e.g. cruise liners and ferries. In the North Sea, offshore charging stations could be powered by wind energy, where production prices have fallen by 63% in the past six years to 65€/MWh (2018), and have the potential to scale to 2600TWh, making it cheaper than diesel.
Yet, there are technical challenges for large power connectors and operational challenges in electric “bunkering”. Matching the supply of offshore charging to the demands of an electrified mobile fleet gives a chicken-and-egg-problem for ships. Countries with substantial fleets may obstruct changes that would drive forward the electrification of the seas.
Our project is to set out a range of emerging use cases and assess their business cases in order to trigger the supply chain in the North Sea region to kick-start innovative projects and business development.
The project is initiated by the Periscope network, a blue innovation ecosystem in the North Sea Region.