Danish firms Ørsted and ESVAGT have agreed to build a second methanol-powered offshore service operation vessel (SOV) for offshore wind farms off the UK east coast, where Ørsted has a 10-year contract to operate.

The vessel will be powered by dual-fuel engines that can run on so-called e-methanol, which is produced from renewable energy and biogenic carbon (carbon dioxide that is sequestered from the atmosphere during photosynthesis, thus when burned simply replaces what was removed naturally).

With an LOA of 93 metres and a beam of 19.6 metres, the vessel will accommodate 124 people and have plenty of recreational space, such as games room and gym. It will also have a motion-compensated gangway, transfer boats and helideck.

The vessel will be launched in 2026 and its fuel, Ørsted says, will be produced at Europe’s largest e-methanol facility, FlagshipONE, in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden for which ground was broken on May 24.

Around 110 e-methanol vessels have been ordered or are in operation, up from 80 vessels at the end of 2022, says Liquid Wind, which originally developed the facility. With new regulations looming, it expects demand for fuels such as e-methanol to increase rapidly.

“Ørsted will continue to look for the best green alternatives to fossil fuels,” said Mark Porter, head of Operations Europe at Ørsted. “E-methanol is a strong match for our SOVs, and we’re very pleased that we, along with ESVAGT, will soon welcome the second methanol-powered vessel to our fleet.”

The SOV has been designed and configured by ESVAGT and is a sister vessel to the one announced in 2022 that is scheduled for launch in 2024 and will also operate off England’s east coast, at the Hornsea 2 offshore wind farm, the world’s largest. 

The vessels are to be built at the Cemre Shipyard in Turkey.

“We are delighted to expand our collaboration with Ørsted on this ground-breaking operation,” said Søren Karas, Chief Strategy & Commercial Officer at ESVAGT, says:. As a global market leader in marine services for offshore wind, ESVAGT is deeply committed to continuously innovating to deliver lower emission solutions. We are looking forward to bringing the first methanol powered SOVs to the market”.