A new eco-friendly Autonomous Guard Vessel (AGV) design is anticipated to be smaller, lighter and more efficient than others in the offshore wind market.

Autonomous Guard Vessel

The Autonomous Guard Vessel design features battery power and solar panels. Photo: C-Job Naval Architects

This AGV design to replace conventional guard vessels came about in a project group facilitated by LISA, a community for maritime professionals. The project group resulted in a consortium, which includes C-Job Naval Architects, SeaZip Offshore Service, Sea Machines, MARIN and eL-Tec elektrotechniek BV.

The AGV is specifically designed for surveying offshore structures throughout their life cycle, ranging from wind farms to substation platforms and cable routes.

As the AGV does not require crew, the ship will be considerably smaller than existing guard vessels. Reduced propulsion requirements also enable a battery-powered design for zero-emission propulsion and solar panels across the top to provide back-up power. Additionally, the reduced power and lack of onboard crew leads to lower operational costs.

The AGV will recharge its batteries via a charging station. The charging station can be moored independently or connected to existing equipment onsite. Depending on the situation, charging could either be via a cable connection to the on-site equipment such as an offshore transformer platform or locally generated using renewable fuels.

The consortium envisions an offshore site will need a number of AGVs, which can take turns in monitoring the area and recharging.

By Rebecca Jeffrey