North Star Joins Stillstrom in Efforts to Accelerate Offshore Charging

Stillstrom offshore charging
Stillstrom's concept is for offshore support vessels to recharge connected to buoy's drawing power from the wind farm (Stillstrom)

Published Aug 28, 2023 7:20 PM by The Maritime Executive

Stillstrom, a company spun out from Maersk to focus on developing charging points for hybrid offshore vessels, is forming a partnership with the UK-based North Star to accelerate the adoption of offshore charging and vessel electrification technology. The concept seeks to use power from offshore wind farms to charge electric or hybrid service vessels while they are on-site for maintenance and support operations at the offshore locations.

One of the challenges is using electric offshore support vessels powered by batteries or hybrid propulsion systems is the distances they need to travel to reach the locations. Win farms and other offshore installations are moving further offshore making it challenging for the vessel to have the range to make round trips from onshore charging ports. In addition, many of the vessels remain onsite at the offshore locations further increasing the need for power sources to make the transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy possible.

Stillstrom launched in 2022 is one of several companies working on developing the technology to provide offshore charging ports. The UK is also supporting several efforts to research and develop the technologies to support offshore charging. Stillstrom has proposed that the technology would not only be used for support vessels traveling to the wind farms but could also become a power source for “green parking” for vessels idling outside ports.

Under the new agreement, Stillstrom will work with North Star to accelerate the adoption of offshore charging. North Star will work with the company to integrate vessel operations with the charging units. 

Stillstrom previously reported that it was working with Ørsted to test a prototype buoy that would act as both a safe mooring point and a charging station for vessels. They had announced plans to test the technology this year with Ørsted responsible for the buoy’s integration with the electrical grid at an offshore wind farm. The plan called for testing the connection with overnight power to one of Ørsted’s service vessels. 

With the Port of Aberdeen in the UK, Stillstrom was also conducting a joint feasibility study. They were planning to develop a roadmap for the potential introduction of offshore charging infrastructure at the port.

The UK's Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult (ORE Catapult) incubator selected a series of projects providing support to develop technologies for offshore charging. Both the UK and Norway have followed up with additional grants as they look to open the market which is part of the broader effort to reduce emissions in and around European ports.