In a first for the Americas, Harvey Gulf International Marine has converted five platform supply vessels (PSVs) to hybrid operation. The Wärtsilä hybrid solution combines batteries and engines running on liquefied natural gas (LNG) or biogas. The retrofit has helped make the company’s operations significantly more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly.
Harvey Gulf International Marine specialises in supporting deepwater operations in US waters and beyond the Gulf of Mexico. In line with their mission to provide the best possible service and have the most fuel efficient, environmentally friendly fleet of PSVs in the Americas, they decided to upgrade one of their PSVs, the Harvey Energy, to hybrid operation.
There were three key reasons behind Harvey Gulf International Marine's desire to hybridise the Harvey Energy:
“The highest fuel savings are achieved in DP operation, when the system acts as a generator. This means one engine can run at a higher load, which is more efficient and causes less engine wear than using two at a lower load,” says Helge Solberg, Senior Proposal Engineer, Wärtsilä Marine Power.
The solution installed onboard the Harvey Energy is based on an innovative hybrid power module. Because it is delivered inside a deckhouse container where all key components are integrated, installing it onboard is a relatively straightforward and quick process. The container houses the energy storage system, the transformer and the hybrid drive that converts the DC current from the battery to AC and vice versa, as well as electrics and cooling.
It also includes a fully integrated energy management system, which is the ‘brain’ of the hybrid solution. It controls the energy flows between the different power sources and connects to the onboard navigation system.
The scope of the retrofit project onboard the Harvey Energy also included integration with the vessel’s existing Wärtsilä power distribution, power management and integrated automation systems.
Because the hybrid solution has delivered even better fuel savings than the initial estimate of 10–20%, Harvey Gulf decided to roll out the upgrade to four more of its PSVs: the Harvey Liberty, Harvey Power, Harvey Freedom and Harvey America. These upgrades will make the vessels more cost-efficient to operate and support the company’s decarbonisation efforts.
The retrofit project was carried out during the COVID-19 pandemic. This delayed delivery of components and meant several changes to the project schedule. The customer also needed to change the order in which the vessels were retrofitted because of changes in its operation schedule. As if that wasn’t enough, Hurricane Ida, a deadly and extremely destructive Category 4 Atlantic hurricane, hit the gulf area during the installation, disrupting the retrofit further.
Despite all these challenges, the retrofits were delivered on time and the customer was pleased with the final outcome. “They are happy with our work as the results exceeded their expectations,” says Robert Marcsa, Project Manager, Ship Electrification Solutions at Wärtsilä. “They also are very proud of these vessels, which are the most fuel efficient of their kind in the Gulf of Mexico.”
Learn more about how Wärtsilä hybrid systems can improve your environmental performance.
Retrofit needed for five PSVs to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions
Wärtsilä’s containerised hybrid solution for battery and LNG/biogas operation
Significant fuel savings and lower emissions for the most environmentally friendly PSVs operating in the Gulf of Mexico