Ulstein has unveiled a hybrid hydrogen-powered wind turbine installation vessel that can operate in zero-emissions mode for 75% of its operating time
“Most new jack-up designs have a battery hybrid system in addition to diesel gensets, with an option for a hydrogen-powered fuel cell system. But the downside of a high-power battery energy storage system is its weight and cost,” said Ulstein. “That is not beneficial for a turbine installation vessel, where weight savings are essential for minimising elevated weight and optimising variable deck load.”
Ulstein has taken what it described as a “pragmatic yet realistic approach” and analysed the operational cycle of turbine installation vessels and looked at the power demand in the various modes of operation.
Ulstein product manager Ko Stroo said, “Around 75% of the time, a turbine installation vessel is in jacked-up position performing crane operations.
“That being the case, a combination of a hydrogen fuel cell system and a relatively small battery energy storage system is sufficient to meet overall power demand on board and crane peak loads.
“The same design philosophy we used on our first hydrogen-powered vessel, the SX190, resulted in a much more attractive business case when applied to a turbine installation vessel,” said Ulstein Rotterdam managing director Edwin Van Leeuwen.
The hydrogen hybrid system on the Ulstein J102 has been developed in such a way that future developments in hydrogen technology can easily be fitted into the vessel without major modifications.
“The limited availability of hydrogen bunkering infrastructure is often seen as a hurdle to the introduction of hydrogen-powered vessels,” said Mr Stroo, “but our modular storage layout creates the flexibility to operate the vessel worldwide, even when bunkering infrastructure is not ready yet.”
Ulstein said the design results in a reduction in CO2 emissions of 4,000 tonnes per annum and an emissions reduction per installation cycle of 25% compared to a conventional vessel.
The fuel cell system is a polymer electrolyte membrane type. Hydrogen is stored in seven 40 ft containers.