Hybrid propulsion daughter craft for UK offshore wind industry

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Two vessels, claimed to be the world’s first hybrid daughter craft, designed to support the offshore wind market, are to be built for UK-based North Star Renewables and designed in collaboration with naval architects Chartwell Marine.

The two hybrid vessels will be built to complement North Star’s growing service offshore vessel (SOV) fleet and will be delivered in 2022 and 2023. The company says that the hull form, equipment selection, innovation features and comfort are designed to suit the demands of offshore wind operations.

Daughter craft are used by the offshore wind industry to transfer technicians between the in-field SOV, where they live while working offshore, to the wind turbines to undertake routine or remedial maintenance. They are also used to support trips to shore and make deliveries in-field. In addition, daughter craft provide essential emergency safety and rescue cover.

Over the past two years, North Star says its teams in Newcastle, Lowestoft and Aberdeen have worked in close partnership with Chartwell Marine to produce a high-performance, comfortable and sustainable daughter craft vessel design. It introduces hybrid propulsion into the daughter craft market for the first time while setting what are claimed to be new standards for safe operations with an increased sea state operability at wave heights of up to 1.7m Hs – 33% higher than any comparable vessels currently available.

The firm’s renewables director, Andrew Duncan, explained, “The UK has the world’s largest offshore wind market, backed by an experienced and innovative supply chain. We are committed to providing local content opportunities where possible, through direct and indirect employment, partnerships and supply chain. Our annual spend is tens of millions of pounds.

“Our relationship and collaboration with Chartwell Marine have ensured that we are bringing a transformational daughter craft design to the industry, using the latest available technologies to increase safety, performance, reliability and comfort and reduce emissions. This is an exciting period for our business as we continue on this journey with Chartwell Marine toward becoming the first SOV operator in the world with a fleet of hybrid daughter craft built right here in the UK.”

Once the daughter craft are delivered, they will be operated by North Star’s crew members, with the entire fleet maintained in-house by the company’s team of technicians based in Aberdeen and Lowestoft.

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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