International shipping is a large and growing source of greenhouse gas emissions, and presently accounts for as much as 2.89% of global human-made emissions. To combat this, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has set out a pathway to reduce total annual greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008 levels.

Despite offshore wind being one of the cleanest forms of electricity generation, a significant number of vessels are required during the development, construction and operations and maintenance phases of projects, all of which contribute to the sector’s carbon footprint. There is a desire to reduce emissions associated with vessel operations in offshore wind projects through the adoption of clean maritime innovations, and the sector has the potential to act as a ‘springboard’ industry to assist the broader maritime decarbonisation effort.

The Solution

Grafmarine Energy is developing a modular tile-based product that can generate, store and intelligently manage solar power, referred to as NanoDeck (ND). Built using unique composites to provide durability in the hostile marine environment, ND can be fitted to any vessel or structure and convert it into an energy generating surface, while its modular nature means that it can be adapted to fit specific shapes and cover limitless areas. The ND is initially targeted at the shipping sector where it will reduce vessel fuel consumption by functioning as an alternative and renewable auxiliary power source, displacing the amount of heavy marine fuel usage. Other applications could include providing an alternative power source to diesel generators typically found on offshore platforms, or charging functionality in offshore or port locations.

MEECE Support

Grafmarine has joined forces with ORE Catapult to appraise and de-risk its innovative technology. In 2021 the MEECE team undertook a feasibility study to evaluate applications for ND in the offshore wind sector, providing details on the auxiliary power requirements for offshore wind turbines and substations, as well as highlighting potential applications to decarbonise crew transfer vessels and charge inspection drones.

In the second phase of the project, ORE Catapult installed a prototype of ND on the MEECE buoy in April 2022 at the Marine Energy Test Area (META) in the Milford Haven Waterway, representing the first time that the technology has been tested in a marine environment. Data will be captured from the buoy and ND prototype to assess its performance and durability, supporting Grafmarine in increasing the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) from 6 to 7.