UK shipowner Bibby Marine is blazing a trail with what it claims is the world’s first zero-emission electric service operation vessel (eSOV) for wind farms.

The company has teamed up with partners including Shell and Kongsberg on the project.

Bibby has clinched an unspecified amount of funding from the UK government’s Zero Emission Vessel Infrastructure (ZEVI) competition for the new ship.

The eSOV will have a powerful battery system and dual-fuel methanol engines for backup, along with associated shore-charging facilities, according to the company.

Bibby Marine chief executive Nigel Quinn said: “We are excited to receive this funding and to work with our partners to launch the world’s first eSOV, the first new vessel for Bibby Marine in five years.”

“This project is the natural progression of our decarbonisation journey, which began in 2019, to find the right solution to achieve our net zero goals,” he added.

The vessel has been designed in the UK, and Quinn said it would be a game-changer for the industry.

With nearly 40 GW of new offshore wind capacity to be added in the UK alone by 2030, Bibby sees a demand for between 62 and 149 vessels to service this.

Lucas Ribeiro, regional manager for Western Europe at class society DNV, said: “The number of fully electric and hybrid vessels will surge over the next few years and continuing development on these technologies will be a key part of the maritime industry’s transition to a zero-carbon future.”

The UK has allocated more than £80m ($100m) to 10 flagship ZEVI projects.

These are supported by 52 organisations from across the UK.

Bibby Marine is a subsidiary of Bibby Line Group.