‘World first’ as floating charging station passes initial sea trials

Renewable engineering specialist Oasis Marine Power has completed the first stage of testing of its offshore charging station for battery-powered ships.

The Oasis Power Buoy is said to be the first of its kind in the world to successfully reach sea trials, which took place in the Port of Cromarty Firth during January. It is the first in a series of testing that will include further optimisation and additional sustained sea trials.

The company, a subsidiary of marine engineer Jebb Smith of Aberdeenshire, plans to initially install the charging stations at offshore windfarms to allow vessels with battery power systems to recharge while at sea.

Diesel-powered maintenance vessels are currently responsible for the majority of CO2 emissions from an operational wind farm. The buoy receives its power directly from the wind turbines, providing a zero-emission energy source.

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Oasis Marine Power says the system has already gathered significant interest from windfarm operators looking to function in the cleanest way possible. Once in widespread use, the Oasis Power Buoy will “greatly increase” their ability to do so.

George Smith, director of Oasis Marine Power, thanked the Cromarty Firth Port Authority and logistics services supplier PSG Marine for their support with the trials.

“I am delighted with the results of the testing,” Mr Smith said.

“We have proven that the concept is viable and are now working to optimise the design. What we have achieved is a world first, and this is a great progression towards dramatically reducing the carbon footprint of the maritime industry.”

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Oasis Marine Power was set up in the first quarter of last year to spearhead development of the recharging buoy, which has received grant funding from the Department of Transport through MarRI-UK Technology and Innovation in UK Maritime Call.

In November, Fife-based fabrication firm Wilkie Engineering became an investor in Oasis Marine Power after it got involved in the manufacture of the buoy. The two companies have worked in collaboration to deliver the offshore charging system, which is seen as a “strategically important move” for Wilkie’s diversification into the renewables sector.

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