Clean marine retrofit

Nicola Brittain

Recent funding of one offshore windfarm project will help unlock an industry led transition to net zero.

The design and engineering phase of a groundbreaking project to deliver a retrofit electric crew transfer vessel (E-CTV) in the North Sea has just begun with Tidal Transit, supplier of purpose-design crew transfer vessels for the offshore wind industry, leading the work.

The initiative benefits from £6.3m funding from the Zero Emissions Vessel and Infrastructure (ZEVI) competition, which opened in February 2023 as part of Innovate UK and the Department of Transport’s strategic plan to develop, deploy and operate clean maritime solutions. Just ten flagship UK projects were chosen to split more than £80m in funding, with the aim of unlocking an industry-led transition to Net Zero.

Over the next 15 months, Tidal Transit will retrofit a diesel-powered Mercurio 20m vessel, Ginny Louise, with over two megawatt-hours (MWh) of battery capacity, electric motors and propulsion pods. The finished product, e-Ginny, will not only emit zero emissions in operation, but will also boast increased manoeuvrability while being near-silent for passengers and passers-by.


As existing shoreside charging capabilities are severely limited, the project will expand vessel charging infrastructure by installing both an onshore charging station from Artemis Technologies, and an offshore wind turbine based-charger from MJR Power & Automation to allow for direct E-CTV charging on location, greatly increasing the time and range that electric vessels can stay in operation without returning to port.


The e-Ginny project is being undertaken in partnership with Goodchild Marine Services, Artemis Technologies and MJR Power & Automation. Key equipment suppliers also include Volvo Penta, Danfoss and the battery system from Corvus Energy. Upon completion, the E-CTV will begin service on a UK windfarm for a period of 3 years.

Leo Hambro, commercial director of Tidal Transit, said: “This project is a significant step forward in propelling the offshore transport industry into a new zero-carbon era. As a Norfolk based company, we’re delighted to be working locally with our project partner Goodchild Marine and, alongside our other incredible design and engineering partners operating nationwide, continuing to lead the way in sustainable and decarbonised offshore transport.”

The ZEVI competition explained

The Mercurio E-CTV retrofit project is part of the Zero Emissions Vessels and Infrastructure competition (ZEVI), announced in February 2023, funded by UK Government and delivered in partnership with Innovate UK. As part of ZEVI, the Department for Transport allocated over £80m to 10 flagship projects supported by 52 organisations from across the UK to deliver real world R&D projects in clean maritime solutions. Projects will take place in multiple locations from the Orkney Isles to the south west of England.

ZEVI is part of the UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emission’s (UK SHORE), focused on clean maritime technologies that can be scaled rapidly to decarbonise the UK’s domestic maritime sector. In March 2022, the department announced a government investment of £206m to UK SHORE, a new division within the Department for Transport focused on decarbonising the maritime sector.