Karpowership – A Flagship Operation

We learn about Karpowership’s unique fleet of floating power plants.

Karpowership is a global energy company which has been operating across Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and the Caribbean since 2010.

“We are the world’s only designer, builder, owner, and operator of a Powership fleet. These Powerships are self-contained, grid-sized floating power plants ranging from 36 MW to 470 MW,” says Patrick O’Driscoll, Sales Director of Commercial Operations for the firm. “Today we have a fleet in excess of 4,100 MW, with 25 Powerships contracted and operational. They’re all on-location serving state-owned power utilities in a number of countries.”Karpowership

Recently the company entered the liquified natural gas (LNG) to Power market via its owned and operated floating storage regasification units (FSRUs), which it operates side-by-side with its Powership fleet.

“Our innovative floating storage and regasification units are designed to operate alongside the Powerships,” O’Driscoll says. “We are a forward-focused business, so that’s why we took the decision to invest in the entire value chain. Right now, nobody else has a fleet of Powerships aligned with FSRUs in the LNG to Power market. Going forward we plan for LNG to be the primary fuel source for Powerships. It is cleaner than other liquid fuels. As the world diversifies itself from coal and crude oil, LNG is growing in popularity.

Plug and Play 

Karpowership is unique, offering a global game-changing solution that is cleaner and greener, immediately available at an affordable cost. What makes the Karpowership offering so appealing is their “plug and play” solution to power infrastructure.

“Our Powerships are ready – built and available for quick deployment,” O’Driscoll points out. “We’ve proven that we can deploy a Powership faster than it takes to build a land-based powerplant with the equivalent megawatt capacity over many occasions”.

Powerships also offer valuable ingredients into the mix of countries looking to shift over to renewable energy sources.

“Renewables have an important role to play in the energy market but can have limitations when it comes to large-scale needs. This is because the availability of energy sources like wind and solar often fluctuate depending on the season. Powerships are a natural partner to renewable energy solutions. As I have mentioned, Powerships can operate on Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) which produces far fewer CO2 emissions than diesel generators or coal-burning power plants. It is odourless, non-toxic and non-corrosive, and never leaves a residue to dispose of. “When the sun sets the thermal power generation in Powerships can respond by increasing its output,” says O’Driscoll. “Because we’re using reciprocating engines of manageable size, even with our 470 MW power plant, we can turn it off in a way you can’t with a gas turbine. We can tread a straight line in terms of efficiency and really micromanage the load.”

Setting Sail for Opportunity

The approach Karpowership takes can be useful in a wide range of situations, but at this time O’Driscoll is particularly excited about the opportunities present in South Africa.

It is well known that South Africa faces acute power challenges. The COVID-19 crisis has caused additional strain on all economies and getting stable electricity will be a key part of reigniting their economy after lockdown.”

KarpowershipKarpowership has already reached out to the South African government as part of its recent request for information (RFI). Karpowership South Africa put forward our solution confirming it is immediate, cost-effective and will mitigate the risk of load shedding since the Powerships can be operational within two months.

“For us, South Africa is a market we can address quickly and effectively. We’re engaged with a government risk mitigation programme, so we are in dialogue with the country,” O’Driscoll says.

O’Driscoll has a clear understanding of the market and the drivers within. He believes it is essential to be in touch with your customers and understand their expectations, follow the market and sector trends especially given the unique and pioneering concept of Powerships.

“We commit capital in advance of any project”, he says. “It’s an unprecedented approach to the market. We make large capital investments, before we sign the contracts with utilities, into our equipment – and that’s driven by our understanding of the market.”

Karpowership has expanded across the world over the last decade and has a strong footprint and vision for.

“Ghana is our West African base for the region including Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, and Sierra Leone,” O’Driscoll says. “We also have multiple projects across Indonesia, giving us a hub to reach out across Asia and the Pacific that was followed by securing a project in Mozambique serving the horn of Africa. We are headquartered out of Istanbul giving us a strategic advantage for the Middle Eastern region. This gave us the footprint to secure projects and manage them regionally.”

O’Driscoll expects to see many more opportunities in the future, but it is not just about expanding the business. He discussed the essential role the Powerships play in increasing access to power worldwide.

“I’ve been in the business and power sector for a long time. Many of us take for granted the ability to switch on the lights, charge our phones, refrigerate food and essential medication he says. “A lot of the countries we work in are developing nations. During the COVID pandemic, hospitals and telecommunications have to be kept operational with a continuous supply of electricity. If I take Guinea Bissau in West Africa as an example, we are the sole provider of power in that country. When they plug in their laptops and their life support machines, that electricity is derived from our Powership. We aim to be more than just an electricity provider; we want to be a partner to each country where we operate.”


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