13 Jun 2023

Multi Cat 1908 Electric combines heritage & innovation in boost for maritime sustainability

In focus: ✔ Multi Cat ✔ MuC 1908 Electric ✔ Energy transition ✔ Sustainable ships ✔ Innovation ✔ Zero emissions

Damen introduces versatile zero emissions workboat

At this year’s Seawork exhibition in Southampton, UK, Damen Shipyards Group unveiled an innovative new design – the Multi Cat 1908 Electric. This fully electric vessel brings zero emissions operations into range for a wide range of workboat activities.

Standing on a solid foundation

Though this is the first fully electric Damen Multi Cat, the MuC 1908 E is nonetheless based on a solid foundation. The Damen Multi Cat 1908 is a proven product within the Damen portfolio that has been operating successfully around the world for over a quarter of a century. Damen, with the ambition to become the world’s most sustainable shipbuilder, has combined the credentials of this robust workhorse with experience gained over the last few years in the delivery of a number of fully electric vessels. Among these are a number of ferries and tugs. With this latest design, Damen was looking for a way that it could bring sustainable operations to the widest possible range of work in a single vessel.

Biggest possible impact on emissions

Jeroen van Woerkum, Commercial Manager at Damen Shipyards Hardinxveld explains, “With our commitment to increased maritime sustainability, we wanted to create a versatile workboat that could bring zero emissions performance to a wide range of operations. A Multi Cat is the perfect vessel for this, thanks to its flexibility and versatility. “Further to this, the MuC 1908 suggested itself for the task, having been so successful over the years. What we have done, is taken a proven platform, and combined it with the experience we have gained in recent years in electrification, to create an innovative vessel that has the potential to make a considerable impact on maritime emissions.” The MuC 1908 E is 19.05 metres by 8.4 metres, with a deck area of 35. It offers 7 tonnes of bollard pull and can travel at speeds of up to 7 knots. The batteries used for the vessel’s propulsion have a lifetime of ten years. The vessel can operate for up to twelve hours on a single charge, putting a day’s work comfortably within range.

Flexible & versatile: the freedom to move

The versatility of the vessel provides operators with much freedom to move between markets and sectors and helps ensure the vessel of high uptime. The Multi Cat 1908 Electric is the perfect tool for general port maintenance, buoy handling and salvage work. Equipped with a robust winch, the MuC 1908 E is also well suited to towing equipment to site, where it can perform mooring spread installation. All anchors, wires and cans can be stored on the fore deck, thus leaving the aft deck clear for towing. With this, the need for trans-shipment at sea, and associated downtime, is reduced. With its high quality, high-capacity deck crane, it is equally capable of performing anchor handling operations. With high buoyancy forward, embedded anchors can be pulled out safely, without the aft being submerged. Plus, with the thruster propulsion the manoeuvrability is increased significantly.

Support for multiple markets

With its high-quality air compressors and air tools, the MuC 1908 E is able to assist floating pipeline operations. It is also able to support trailing suction and cutter suction dredging operations, including with use of a Damen DOP dredge pump, a fully electric version of which is available to maintain the vessel’s zero emission capabilities. Additionally, with an A-frame installed on the aft deck, the vessel can conduct plough dredging operations with a plough able to move up to 10 tonnes of material in a single sweep. Further addition of a modular options extends the capabilities of the vessel yet further. For example, with the installation of a grabber and sweeper, the vessel is perfectly capable of conducting waste and/or oil spill recovery duties.

Sustainable ship for sustainable sectors

The MuC 1908 E is also suited to supporting the offshore renewable wind, wave, and turbine sectors. During site construction, the vessel can undertake anchor handling and towage, as well as serving as equipment and supplies storage, while its long reach crane makes it ideal for maintenance operations also. Another area in which the vessel can be utilised is in the aquaculture sector. With its powerful cranes and winches, the MuC 1908 E is an ideal tool for this rapidly developing industry. The Multi Cat is able to tow feed barges to location and assist in mooring them upon arrival. Other tasks that Multi Cats have been involved in for this sector include removing fouled nets, site stripping and cleaning components, while delousing equipment can be easily stored on the vessel’s spacious deck.

Connected for optimal efficiency

As well as drawing on Damen’s track record in workboats and electrification, the MuC 1908 E benefits from the shipbuilder’s experience in digitalisation. The vessel features Triton, Damen’s award-winning connected vessel platform. From sensors located throughout the vessel, Triton collects data that puts the operator in control. “Triton provides information about the batteries and their performance, for example. Additionally, it can collect data and provide reports on route performance. For a conventional vessel, this provides a means to find the optimal sailing route and reduce emissions. For a zero emissions vessel such as this, such capabilities can still be applied to optimising efficiency and getting the best possible use of the batteries during operations,” says Jeroen.

More than just a ship

“This is just one of numerous examples where we aim to go beyond the delivery of a vessel,” he says. We want to provide our clients with additional value with a comprehensive support package tailored to their needs. In the case of an electric vessel, for example, this can come in the form of research and consultancy regarding compatibility with the local electricity supply. Or the provision of charging infrastructure – something we've gained quite some experience in with recent projects. “Also, we realise that operating an electric vessel is a new concept to many companies. Therefore, we have developed training courses to help familiarise crews with the working of the vessel.”

Increasing access to efficiency

Damen also offers a number of financial services to support access to this, and other sustainable vessels from its portfolio. For example, the vessel is available via LeaseCo, a private investor fund of the Damen family that offers attractive lease solutions that serve as a kick starter for new businesses.

Clean power in a box

Damen’s collaboration with other industry partners also paves the way for extended support in the operation of its vessels during the lifecycle. “A good example for this, in the case of a fully electric vessel such as the MuC 1908 E, is Damen’s partnership with Skoon Energy. Skoon provides containerised batteries that can be hired. This enables operations to continue, with zero emissions, even in locations where no grid connection is available.”

Coming soon

Damen is planning to commence construction of the first MuC 1908 E at its yard in Hardinxveld soon. As Jeroen explains, this is part of a tried and tested approach, known as the Damen Standard. “We build our vessels in series and keep them in stock. That way, when a client needs a vessel, we can deliver it to them in the fastest possible timeframe. With the outstanding track record of the Multi Cat 1908 to date, and the success we’ve enjoyed so far with electric vessels, we have every confidence in the MuC 1908 E and intend to start building the first vessel on speculation in the coming months.”

Discover more about MuC 1908 E3

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