UK-based Bibby Marine Services (Bibby) has received a grant to explore a range of zero-carbon fuel systems through the WaveMaster Zero C Research and Development Project.
The project will be supported by a grant from MarRI-UK, a collaborative innovation vehicle for UK industry and academia to jointly tackle innovation and technology challenges.
Helen Samuels, Bibby Marine Ltd’s CEO, said: “We are at a clear juncture in time, where zero-carbon is the only way forward, and this project will support critical developments in the UK shipping sector and beyond, and make an enormous contribution to solving the climate emergency we face.”
Bibby will utilise the design of its fleet of Bibby WaveMaster Walk-to-Work Service Operation Vessels (SOVs) in the study.
Using the WaveMaster hull design as a basis, five alternative fuel concepts will be designed: biofuel, hydrogen, ammonia, methanol, and battery power.
Each concept will be scrutinised from technical, environmental, economic and legislative perspectives, with each fuel assessed to develop a roadmap for successful implementation, Bibby said.
The Bibby-led project also includes ORE Catapult, Peel Group, Lloyd’s Register, Ricardo, Damen Shipyards, Square 5, and EFC Energy Solutions.
The project is expected to benefit both the offshore energy and SOV market, but also act as a steppingstone to scale up larger vessels.
SOVs are the tool of choice for accessing far offshore wind turbines, and Bibby’s bespoke-designed WaveMaster vessels are themselves the result of an extensive research and development programme, the company said.
“SOVs are the vessel of choice in offshore wind farms, yet whilst new and highly innovative in their function, we now need to focus on their emissions. We can only do this by working with world class partners in a collaborative manner,” Rob Osborne, Bibby Marine Services, Innovation Engineer and Project Manager for the WaveMaster Zero C project, said.
“I am very proud at the range of companies that we have brought together to drive this innovation forward. The potential of this project to revolutionise the way Bibby and other maritime operators work is very exciting.”
The 90-metre Bibby WaveMaster vessels can accommodate up to 90 people and can remain offshore for up to 30 days.
Bibby’s current WaveMaster fleet comprises Bibby WaveMaster 1 and Bibby Wavemaster Horizon. The company is the only British Walk-to-Work SOV operator.
“After over 200 years of continuous ship ownership, delivering the future of shipping is deeply engrained within the DNA of Bibby Line Group. Bringing the WaveMaster fleet to market has been a great continuation of this journey, and the next step for a zero-carbon future must be our sector’s combined goal, and I truly believe we have the right team to make a difference,” Stephen Bolton, Managing Director at Bibby Marine Services, said.