What happens when you retrofit an energy storage solution to a large offshore supply vessel? Harald Torbjørn Klepsvik, the owner of North Sea Shipping (NSS), is best positioned to answer that question since NSS is already reaping its benefits. Here’s what we found out when we met him at Wärtsilä’s Future Innovation Day at Stord, Norway.
Offshore vessel owner and operator North Sea Shipping (NSS) were keen to explore options to make their North Sea Giant subsea construction vessel on the west coast of Norway more competitive while reducing its environmental footprint. In August 2017, Wärtsilä agreed to retrofit the world’s first energy storage solution with an Electronic Bus Link (EBL) module on board the advanced DP3 vessel.
The North Sea Giant is not only one of the world’s largest subsea construction vessels. It also is one of the most advanced ones. New transformers, filters, switchboard, shore connection equipment, upgrades of existing components and commissioning as part of the project are also contributing to this.
The estimated reduction in emissions was 5.5 million kg CO2, 30 tonnes of NOx and 1,200 kg SOx per year. While the final numbers aren’t out yet, the owner Harald Torbjørn Klepsvik is impressed with the reductions so far.
“There are still some modules to be installed so we can’t give the full result yet. From what we’ve seen so far, I am confident to say the savings are going to be better than we expected.” Not only will more efficient engines lead to fuel cost savings, time will also be saved as the vessel will require refuelling less often.
NSS is a family company, started in 1984 and still owned by the Klepsvik and Økland families. Specialising in vessels for demanding marine operations, the Norway-based company today focuses on offshore construction vessels, inspection, maintenance and repair (IMR) vessels, seismic survey ships, and cable lay vessels.
“At times it has been a struggle, but the technological advancements over the last twenty years have been really interesting,” says Klepsvik. Throughout that time, the company has enjoyed a strong relationship with Wärtsilä.
“We have worked with Wärtsilä since we did our first new build around 20 years ago. We saw then that Wärtsilä has very competent technologists, so it’s no surprise to me that the partnership has continued for so long.”
NSS always benchmarks Wärtsilä against other suppliers, but Klepsvik says they almost always come back to Wärtsilä. “We have long enjoyed a positive collaboration with Wärtsilä, with everyone involved focused on solving problems. We come back to Wärtsilä time and again because it is important for us to be active in the process, and that is how these projects go. We bring the operational perspective and Wärtsilä brings the engineering expertise. Together, we can make great solutions.”
An example of the collaboration was the need for a redefinition of applicable classification rules to allow the retrofit project to proceed. As a DP3 class vessel, the North Sea Giant is listed in the most advanced category of vessels that apply dynamic positioning.
An installation of an energy storage solution into such a vessel was a world-first and required a redefinition of applicable classification rules. Wärtsilä and NSS worked together in close collaboration with the DNV-GL classification society to solve the issue.
Klepsvik also values the consistency of Wärtsilä systems across their fleet. “It makes life much easier for our operators and chief engineers. They know the system, and they can go from vessel to vessel without much trouble. That efficiency of operations is important for our business.”
Following the success of this retrofit, North Sea Shipping is keen to repeat the project on other vessels. “I’ve already discussed the next projects with the Wärtsilä team in Norway. They have come up with ideas to make the results even better,” he says.
“Everything goes so fast in this business. We install something today and already there is something new to consider. It’s a challenge, but it’s one that we enjoy.”
Also, from the Norwegian project delivery team the cooperation with the North Sea Shipping is highly appreciated; “Working with North Sea Shipping has from the start been very inspiring and fruitful for us. Challenging Wärtsilä to deliver tomorrow’s innovative solutions requires a front-end customer, seeking the most advanced technology available in the market,” says Sindre Utne, General Manager Project Centre Norway.