Singapore’s Keppel Offshore & Marine is leading the development of the city state’s first comprehensive electric vessel supply chain.

Keppel O&M on Thursday said its subsidiary Keppel Fels — together with DNV, Energy Research Institute @ NTU, Eng Hup Shipping, Envision Digital, Surbana Jurong and the Technology Centre for Offshore and Marine, Singapore — has formed a coalition to develop the chain by 2025.

This includes developing a cost-competitive electric-powered harbour craft, nearshore charging infrastructure, as well as upskilling and developing core talent in marine operations. The chain will also foster growth in the local SME technology and supply ecosystem.

Keppel O&M, as the overall systems integrator, will leverage its extensive experience in the design, construction and digitalisation of vessels to retrofit a 30-person passenger ferry with systems for the vessel to be electric powered. Keppel O&M and the coalition will test, trial and operationalise end-to-end solutions for the electric harbour craft.

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“We are pleased to be able to leverage and support the efforts by MPA [Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore] in the decarbonisation of the industry," Keppel O&M chief executive Chris Ong said.

"Keppel O&M will lead the coalition to develop end-to-end electrification solutions for harbour craft, paving the way to make sea transport significantly greener in Singapore. The same electrification solutions can potentially be applied in other segments of the offshore and marine industry and possibly other sectors,” Ong added.

“The project augments Keppel O&M’s efforts in providing innovative cleaner energy solutions for the marine sector, such as the pilot of Singapore’s first floating Energy Storage System on our Floating Living Lab. This is in line with Keppel's Vision 2030, which places sustainability at the core of its strategy.”

Keppel O&M’s Floating Living Lab will be used to test bed the electric vessel charging infrastructure, accelerating the piloting and commercialisation of the project cost effectively. It also facilitates the use of renewable energy, such as solar in the charging infrastructure.

Keppel O&M’s proprietary digitalisation system, AssetCare, will be used for the life-cycle management of the electric vessels and charging infrastructure.

Marine and land-based charging

The project will tap on the expertise of the coalition to develop marine and land-based charging infrastructure, interoperable standards for Singapore-wide adoption and a marinised energy storage system to power harbour craft, Keppel said.

It will also leverage cyber-physical modelling and simulation in the development of the electric-powered harbour craft. In addition, the coalition will research and develop advanced technologies, including solid-state transformer-based charging infrastructure with scalability, low footprint and enhanced performance.

In the first phase of the project, the companies will conduct research and feasibility studies; design and develop the electric vessel and charging infrastructure; as well as retrofit the harbour craft and install the charging stations. The coalition will then conduct trials and seek to scale up the project.

Some 1600 diesel-powered harbour craft today provide essential marine services to ships within the Port of Singapore.

Based on studies conducted by the Maritime Energy & Sustainable Development Centre of Excellence as well as by Keppel O&M, electrification of a single vessel can reduce carbon emissions by about 20%.

Keppel O&M has secured grants from the MPA and the Singapore Maritime Institute under the Green Energy and Technology Programme and Maritime Decarbonisation R&D Programme, respectively.

"Electrification has the potential to accelerate the decarbonisation of our local harbour craft industry so we are pleased to support the joint industry-research consortium led by Keppel in their electric vessel project," MPA chief executive Quah Ley Hoon said.

"This is one of the three consortiums comprising 30 enterprises and research institutions across the value chain that we are supporting under the Maritime Green Future Fund."