FRS Windcat Offshore Logistics announces the deployment of the first hydrogen-powered dual fuel Crew Transfer Vessel in Germany for 50Hertz. Following the delivery of the vessel in spring 2023, this marks the beginning of a joint operation in various wind farms in the German Baltic Sea.

The Hydrocat 55 is a Crew Transfer Vessel (CTV) equipped with the dual fuel hydrogen technology of CMB.TECH, one of the FRS Windcat Offshore Logistics (FWOL) shareholders. The vessel represents an innovation for the offshore wind industry and marks a significant step in decarbonizing operations for the Flensburg-based company FWOL. The vessel is part of a fleet of six ships currently operated by FWOL in the German and Danish North and Baltic Sea – all sailing under the German flag.

Hydrocat 55

The dual fuel hydrogen system of the Hydrocat 55 allows a significant reduction in CO2 emissions during operation and a substantial decrease in NOₓ emissions. At 25 metres long, the CTV accommodates 24 passengers and 2-3 crew members. It has a tank capacity of 207 kg of hydrogen in 27 cylinders. The engine is manufactured by MAN Engines for dual fuel use and retrofitted by CMB.TECH with a hydrogen injection system.

By using hydrogen, the Hydrocat 55 can significantly reduce diesel consumption and CO2 emissions. At the same time maximum flexibility and safety are ensured. The Hydrocat 55 is built the same way as the Hydrocat 48, which was launched as the first hydrogen powered CTV in 2022 for operations in Belgium.

In collaboration with the Dutch joint venture partner Windcat, five more CTVs of this type are under construction. Work is ongoing to further optimize the ship’s technology and reduce CO2 emission even more in future. A trial period is set to start in January 2024 and will run for a year with regular use of green hydrogen.

Tim Kunstmann of FWOL states: “Looking to the future, FWOL is committed making a significant contribution to the decarbonization of offshore logistics and supporting a green production of renewable energy with the Hydrocat 55 and the further vessels of this type.”

FWOL and 50Hertz have been working together for over ten years and the deployment of this innovative CTV can only strengthen their partnership. 50Hertz is the transmission system operator (TSO) responsible for connecting the grid to wind farms in the German Baltic Sea. Two other vessels from the fleet are currently operating for the Berlin-based company. The Hydrocat 55 represents another step towards a more sustainable future in the offshore wind energy sector for both companies.

Dual fuel hydrogen combustion engines

No fundamental changes to the vessel’s main engine are required, which not only means that maintenance and repair remain simple, but also that the engine can easily be switched back to diesel fuel without any modifications. Even if hydrogen is not available, the vessel can continue to run on traditional fuel, making it a very robust and reliable solution for the offshore wind industry.

Willem Van Der Wel of Windcat says: “With this announcement, we are showing that our group strategy is becoming a reality with the focus on decarbonization and optimisation. We are reducing the carbon emissions of our customers in the offshore wind industry, today. We’re grateful to have such great customers and local partners who help drive this strategy.”