Hybridisation of our vessels is key to our strategy to optimise energy usage. By generating our power with diesel generators, we can improve our emissions profile significantly. Hybrid power will reduce fuel consumption and consequential emissions.
The complex nature of our offshore operations requires state-of-the-art DP3 systems, powered by a diesel-electric configuration. Although power requirement fluctuates during operations, redundancy requirements demand that multiple engines continue to run throughout.
To mitigate high fuel consumption and engine maintenance, we are installing energy storage systems (ESS) on board our vessels to provide energy and load sharing capability. ESS or batteries, act as a buffer in the vessel’s power grid, absorbing load variations. ESS stores energy when demand is low, and delivers it back when demand increases, shaving peaks in power demand. This enables generators to work at optimum power output, without the need to keep idle capacity for “spinning reserves”. It can also eliminate the need to have back-up generators running idle, for example, those that provide redundancy back-up can be turned off. The result is more optimal engine loading with improved fuel efficiency, reduced accumulated running hours and cleaner emissions. Analysis for our vessels shows that ESS upgrades will cut emissions across the fleet by at least 7%. Contracts for hybridisation of the first vessels will be awarded in 2022, with installation completed by 2023.
Shore power makes it possible to turn off all our diesel generators in harbour, which reduces our yearly emissions by a further 2-12%. To enable this capability, we are modifying the main switchboards with additional connections when hybrid power is implemented.
Our offices and yards are key to these efforts. We have installed over 3100 solar panels that produce 750,000 kWh of green electricity per year, which equates to ~50% of our needs at our fabrication and testing site in Heijningen and project logistics base in Rotterdam in the Netherlands. This clean energy now partly powers our supply and support vessels during lay-up periods in Rotterdam.
We are making moves to reduce our carbon footprint further by adopting similar measures across other sites. A major renovation of our project and engineering headquarters in Delft, and crewing office in Essen, Belgium, will include solar panels and heat recovery systems as we look to future proof our offices and buildings.
Biofuels represent a renewable alternative to fossil fuels that can effectively reduce emissions, while offering fuel flexibility and requiring minimal vessel modifications. We are currently working towards our first pilot project with biofuels and we are expanding our offer to include biofuels and biofuel blends to reduce the carbon footprint of our projects by up to 30%. Inspired by our core value of resource preservation, we will employ biofuels that are sustainably sourced from waste or residue feedstock.
To meet our ambitious net-zero emission target by 2050, we are researching alternative technologies to achieve cleaner propulsion on our vessels. We believe that adopting carbon-neutral fuels, such as hydrogen or synthetic fuels, will enable us to execute our projects sustainably and with minimal emissions in the longer term.
A team of engineers is performing feasibility studies on different systems, including retrofits to support green methanol, fuel cell technologies, and hybrid solutions. We aim at drawing a roadmap that will guide the transition of Allseas vessels to alternative propulsion systems as they will become more widely available and technologically developed in the coming years.