Solar, shipping companies partner to innovate marine solar solution

International shipping company Carisbrooke Shipping signed a letter of intent (LoI) with UK solar technology startup Grafmarine to deploy the state-of-the-art NanoDeck solar solution on its vessels.

Grafmarine's NanoDeck is a "three-in-one" solar energy platform that integrates solar energy generation, storage and remote management. It utilizes a hexagonal, modular design with a mission to "turn any flat surface into power hubs."

Grafmarine NanoDeck Solar Cell
Image: Grafmarine

Beyond the novel design, Grafmarine adheres to its strict framework to shape its supply chain. The solution is designed and driven based on three principles: eliminating waste and pollution, boosting the circulation of products and materials at their highest value and facilitating development alongside the regeneration of nature.

Prior to this agreement, the companies worked in partnership over the past year. Carisbrooke Shipping provided Grafmarine with a marine vessel to test their NanoDeck technology.

The vessel was installed with NanoDeck cells. During the test, the NanoDeck sent back real-time data that gave both companies a better understanding of how the equipment can generate solar energy for the vessel while withstanding the rigors of a marine environment.

The first vessel to install this solution was the UAL Osprey. As per the agreement, other vessels are set to follow once additional tests are completed.

"We are extremely excited to be the first trialling such innovative technology, which is already providing promising results. With further modifications and upgrades we hope Grafmarine will find a viable solution not only for Carisbrooke, but also the wider shipping industry to reduce their emissions and provide sustainable shipping above and beyond the goals set by the IMO (International Maritime Organisation)," said Captain Simon Merritt for Carisbrooke Shipping.

Over the years, the marine sector has a big reliance on heavy marine fuels for power at sea and in ports. Study reveals that emissions from all vessels account for about 3% of total GHG emissions each year. There is an urgent need for the marine sector to catch up with the pace of decarbonization on land.

Grafmarine devotes itself to "greenifying" the marine sector using solar technology. Nigel Marc Roberts, Commercial Director at Grafmarine, said that the collaboration with Carisbrooke Shipping will help support IMO's vision for a cleaner and renewable power source to reduce the industry's massive impact on the environment due to greenhouse gas emissions. 

The previous test was mainly conducted in Equatorial waters. Grafmarine also has test locations in the Celtic Sea and on a port platform in the Port of Tyne. The company also plans for further sites across Europe.

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