SubCableWorld has been covering developments in alternative fuels for cable ships since May when DEME Offshore announced the first LNG bunkering of a cable ship. This was soon followed by the same ship, the Living Stone, became the first LNG-powered ship to lay a submarine cable. 

Since then, we’ve run a number of stories about cleaner, alternative fuels for ships in general and cable ships in particular. The fuels we’ve primarily focused on are LNG, hydrogen and ammonia. 

Now there is a new design proposal with a new fuel: methanol. The proposal is for a cable lay vessel specialized for offshore wind array cable installations and powered by methanol.

In a blog post from July 20, 2021, Royal IHC of the Netherlands debuted their design this vessel. The entire blog post can be read here, but we will highlight a few comments from the blog below.  

First, regarding the ship’s specifications: “The IHC inter-array CLV has a total capacity of 4000t cable payload with two under-deck basket carousels. The smart routing of the cable offers the flexibility to lay cable over the port or starboard side and allows for simultaneous cable loading. The storage of the carousels below deck leaves ample deck space to store containers and a 50m quadrant track. This results in a fit-for-purpose vessel with full integration of IHC’s cable-lay equipment and the vessel design.”

Regarding the accommodation of methanol fuel, the blog notes that: “The methanol-fuelled IHC inter-array CLV is designed to maintain autonomy for 30 days without increasing the vessel size. The general arrangement offers sufficient space below the deck to accommodate the fuel storage tanks. This ensures the required autonomy and an optimal operation, without affecting the cable-lay equipment arrangement or the accommodation areas.”

The advantages of this design include: “…the integration and use of methanol in a CLV, overcoming the challenges related to safety (such as toxicity to humans, explosion risks and fuel handling) while ensuring an efficient vessel operation. At the same time, it significantly reduces harmful and greenhouse gas emissions.”