Verhoef Bags First Order for Full Electric Freefall Lifeboat

Dutch-based Verhoef has been awarded the first contract for the delivery of aluminium freefall lifeboats with electric propulsion. The contract with AkerBP was signed in Stavanger on the 21st November on behalf of the Valhall Flank West project in Norway, and an optional agreement was made for similar projects in the future.


The offshore platform Valhall Flank West is designed for minimal maintenance.


Consequently, an aluminium freefall lifeboat with a battery powered electric motor instead of a diesel engine will be a huge advantage. This is not only the first time that this type of freefall lifeboat will be used on the Norwegian Continental Shelf – but also globally. Without any doubt, this will be a game changer, with many to follow.


The all aluminium freefall lifeboat, type FL50-NS-EP (Electric Propulsion) has a maximum capacity of 32 persons@100 kg, and complies to DNV-GL-ST-E406. The battery pack has been designed to sail 30 minutes at full speed, and after that ten hours at approximate 50% of maximum speed.


Already in December 2014 Verhoef performed successful tests along the coast of the Netherlands. Equipped with a compact propulsion system and latest design of Li-ion batteries, Verhoef is convinced that with this development a new era of lifeboat technology will be entered.


Using an electric propulsion for lifeboats has many advantages, from safety, comfort for the occupants, reliability and maintenance cost view point. About 80% to 95% cost reduction can be made compared with OPEX of traditionally powered lifeboats. Also remote monitoring and testing of the batteries is a novelty of this EP Freefall Lifeboat.


“Similar to the introduction of the very first freefall lifeboat ever, by our company back in 1960, the introduction of the EP Freefall Lifeboat will have the same global effect,” said Martin Verhoef – ceo of Verhoef. “We have again demonstrated that we are truly the leader in freefall lifeboat technology. This is what the industry has been waiting for to reduce their OPEX and carbon footprint. Not only oil and gas platforms, but also the shipping and cruise-ships industry will hugely benefit from this development.”


Project Manager Stein Erlend Skei states, “This is an important milestone for the Valhall Flank West project. Due to the short implementation time in the project, we have been given authorisation from the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy to place orders for equipment packages with a long lead time. In order for us to plan for completion of the jacket and platform deck in May 2019, this lifeboat needed to be ordered now.”


Together with ABB, Aker Solutions and Kværner, AkerBP has formed the Wellhead Platform Alliance (WHPA). They are jointly responsible for all engineering services, purchasing, fabrication and commissioning of jacket and topside on Valhall Flank West