CMB.Tech’s Windcat Workboats has put pen to paper on six more hydrogen-powered crew transfer vessels (CTVs) after a successful trial.

The Saverys family’s offshore wind farm company, based in the Netherlands and the UK, launched the revolutionary Hydrocat 48 in May.

Following delivery and trials with charterer Vestas, Windcat Workboats, together with its joint venture partners TSM and FRS, will now take delivery of six more of the ships by 2024.

The vessels can store hydrogen on board and also run on diesel.

They can cut traditional fuel consumption and associated emissions by up to 80%.

No cost or shipyard for the order has been revealed.

“I am proud of this announcement which highlights our commitment to rapidly reducing emissions of offshore wind support vessels,” said Windcat managing director Willem van der Vel.

“The investment that we are making gives our customers access to more hydrogen-powered vessels in a short time, which will support them to achieve their own climate targets,” he added.

The boss said his company is actively engaging with hydrogen producers, clients, port authorities and class societies to ensure hydrogen fuel is readily available for use.

New type designed

The new order includes four vessels of the 25-metre MK3.5H2 series, two of which will be delivered in 2022 and two in 2023.

The first of these will be used in the German offshore market and will be operated by the joint-venture partner FRS Windcat.

The other two CTVs will be new MK5 types, 27-metre-long vessels, with double the hydrogen capacity of the MK3.5H2 series.

CMB.Tech and Windcat are working together to further optimise engine capacities with the aim of increasing the percentage of hydrogen used in their dual-fuel design.

The long-term plan is to develop the technology and infrastructure to eventually enable a mono-fuel option through the internal combustion engine.

“The hydrogen supply chain is still in its infancy and will need to develop to a stage where it is readily available in more locations,” Windcat said.

The introduction of more hydrogen-powered vessels will increase the demand for hydrogen, which will facilitate the development of hydrogen infrastructure, the company believes.

The companies are working on ways of delivering hydrogen to the ships.

These includes a 40ft 500-bar trailer capable of transporting the fuel, to enable bunkering in various port locations that are a distance from the hydrogen source.