CWind's Next-Gen Offshore Wind Crew Transfer Vessel Launched


CWind, offshore wind crew transfer specialist, on Tuesday announced the delivery of what it described as "the world’s first hybrid-powered Surface Effect Ship (SES)," the CWind Pioneer crew transfer vessel.

CWind said that the crew transfer vessel, with 24 passenger capacity, was developed in response to an industry-wide push to develop and deploy innovative technologies that reduce CO2 emissions, while cost-effectively servicing windfarms located further offshore. 

"The CWind Pioneer achieves this through a hybrid diesel and battery electric power system which enables the vessel to operate purely on battery power while in harbor or at standby in the wind farm, resulting in a decrease in fuel burn and CO2," CWind said.

"With surface effect hull form and heave compensation technology, the CWind Pioneer can operate at speeds exceeding 43.5kts, and can transit and transfer safely in sea states in excess of 1.8m Hs, while minimizing motion and acceleration through its air cushion motion control system, resulting in a smoother, more comfortable CTV experience for technicians and crew," the company promises.

At a speed of 43.5kts, the Pioneer is over 20% more fuel-efficient than conventional CTVs running at 24kts on a mile for mile basis, CWind says.

"For a typical wind farm situated 30nmi from port, this translates to a reduction of over 110 tonnes of CO2 per vessel, per year, by using the hybrid SES. This figure excludes the savings of the hybrid system, which will allow the vessel to be a zero-emission ship infield while technicians are carrying out their work on the turbines," CWind explains.

"Specific figures will be shared once these savings are proven, but initial desktop studies suggest a 30%-50% saving over conventional vessels," CWind said.

(CWind Pioneer Interior Tour video below. Video Credit: CWind)

Replacement for SOV?

According to CWind, the high transit speed of the vessel also means windfarms previously serviceable only by an expensive SOV, can now be reached by the SES CTV within 60 minutes, giving wind farm owners and operators more low cost, low carbon options when determining their transfer strategy. 

Nathanael Allison, Managing Director, CWind said: "The launch of the CWind Pioneer marks a significant milestone for the industry and helps pave the way towards achieving net-zero targets. The vessel utilizes revolutionary technology to meet the needs of the market and our customers who want a greener, safer, and more efficient Crew Transfer Vessel to support their commercial and green objectives. With the CWind Pioneer we have delivered just that – a new generation of CTVs.” 

Dutch wind farms

The CWind Pioneer will be used at the Borssele 1 and 2 offshore wind farms in the Netherlands, as part of a long-term charter contract agreement with Ørsted. 

The Hybrid SES crew transfer vessel was developed in partnership with ESNA, a ship design company based in Kristiansand, Norway. ESNA specializes in low emissions technologies and surface effect ship development, to deliver commercially competitive vessels with significant carbon reductions by design. 

Trygve H. Espeland, Naval architect and co-founder of ESNA, said: “We are delighted to see the launch of the CWind Pioneer. She is not only a step-change for the offshore wind industry, but also for the SES design, as she is the first SES with 100% electric air cushion systems, which were both fun and challenging to achieve.

"As a SES, she is reducing emissions by offering low resistance at high speed, and the air cushion motion damping is allowing offshore operations in same wave heights as larger vessels. By choosing a SES you can, therefore, reduce emissions by simply building a smaller vessel for the same job.

According to CWind, the Hybrid SES propulsion engine delivers sprint speed and extreme bollard push, from its 1,600 kW installed diesel engines, which can be battery boosted up to 1,800 kW. The vessel was built by Wight Shipyard Co., a leading UK aluminum and high-speed craft vessel builder.

The CWind Pioneer was blessed at Wight Shipyard Co. by Sam Moncur, Head of Tendering at CWind.

Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, CWind was unable to hold an event to celebrate the milestone, so instead, Sam Moncur, Head of Tendering at CWind, and Ian Douglas, CEO of Global Marine Group visited Wight Shipyard, where the CWind Pioneer was built to mark the occasion. Peter Morton, CEO of Wight Shipyard, was also in attendance.

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