A Turkish yard with a track record of building service operation vessels for the offshore wind energy industry has launched the latest innovative example as new vessels are ordered and designs begin to be developed for the US market
The latest in a growing number of service operation vessels (SOVs) that have been delivered or are on order, Wind of Change is being built at Cemre in Turkey for Louis Dreyfus Armateurs (LDA) and, when completed, will enter into a long-term contract with offshore wind energy leader Ørsted.
Delivery of Wind of Change is expected early in 2019. It will be operated on the Borkum Riffgrund 1 and 2 and Gode Wind 1 and 2 offshore windfarms in Germany providing a maintenance base for technicians to service wind turbines. The vessel has accommodation for 90, including more than 60 windfarm technicians.
The 83.0-m vessel has a beam of 19.4 m and will be equipped with a dynamic motion-compensated gangway with what naval architect Salt Ship Design described as “a unique onboard logistic solution”.
LDA worked closely with Salt Ship Design to develop a vessel tailored for the needs of the offshore wind industry. “This has resulted in a very purpose-driven SOV,” said the Norwegian naval architect.
Windfarm technicians will be transferred to turbines via a specially designed daughter craft (in good weather conditions) and will use the motion-compensated gangway in heavy seas. The daughter craft will be capable of transferring eight windfarm technicians and 1 tonne of cargo to a turbine. The motion-compensated gangway will have a range of approximately 19 m and will be complemented by a unique motion-compensated crane with a lifting capacity of 1 tonne at 23 m.
The windfarm service vessel will have a DC power distribution system in the form of ABB’s OnBoard DC grid, allowing batteries to be integrated into it, making the ship more environmentally friendly and efficient. ABB is installing the DC grid along with a power and energy management system enabling the generators to run at variable speeds while also charging the batteries.
In a statement about the system, ABB marine and ports global product manager for Onboard DC Grid John Olav Lindtjørn said “Energy storage can be used for many purposes on board. Sometimes it will serve as the sole energy source but for this windfarm vessel it is being used as an effective supporting element for the main engines.”
The DC grid will integrate two sets of batteries that will be used primarily as a ‘spinning reserve’ and for peak shaving so that power peaks during operation can be covered by the battery rather than starting another engine. Battery power can also act as backup for running generators, reducing the need to run spare generator capacity.
The level of operating efficiency available in a hybrid power system reduces wear and tear on engines and significantly increases fuel efficiency at lower loads where, in conventional AC power systems, generators run at a fixed maximum speed regardless of the power demand on board. Apart from enhancing the ship’s green credentials in the environmentally conscious offshore wind industry, ABB also points to a benefit for the vessel’s crew: reduced vibration when the hybrid system is on battery power.
MAN is supplying ABB with the 8L21/31 variable-speed engines for the gensets for the vessel, which will also feature the company's EPROX energy saving electric propulsion system, further reducing the vessel’s fuel consumption and emissions. The engines will be prepared for IMO Tier III and set up so they can be retrofitted at a later date with an SCR system. This is to cater for the possibility that IMO Tier III NOx emission limits could be introduced, without obligation, in NOx emission-control areas in the North Sea and Baltic. ABB has overall responsibility for the electric propulsion system.
Uptime in Norway was contracted to supply the walk-to-work gangway for the newbuild. TTS Group and Ulstein provided the motion-compensated crane. Together, the companies were awarded a contract for what will be the first TTS Colibri motion-compensated crane. The new crane combines TTS’s expertise in crane design and manufacturing with Ulstein’s expertise in motion technology and analysis.
“Two features make the TTS Colibri unique compared to other solutions in the market,” claimed Ulstein Equipment managing director Gilbert Rezette. “Firstly, the Colibri system is a stand-alone add-on device for a standard offshore crane. It adds functionality, while the crane maintains its functionality as a full-fledged offshore crane including deepwater subsea capabilities. However, what makes this system truly unique is its groundbreaking anti-sway technology, which also allows it to mitigate wind-induced motions that act directly on the load.
“3D motion-compensation technology is not new to the industry and has enabled greater operability for personnel transfer between vessels and fixed offshore platforms through the use of motion-compensated gangways,” he said. “However, operations typically require personnel and equipment to be transferred between a vessel and platform. Hence, TTS Colibri is a natural step in enhanced vessel operability, providing motion-compensated lifting to match the increased operability offered by motion-compensated gangways.”
In April 2018, Ørsted placed a contract with the Turkish yards for a second SOV, to be delivered in 2021, for the Hornsea Project 2 offshore windfarm. A sister vessel to Wind of Change, which was ordered in 2017, the second ship was also designed in close co-operation with Salt Ship Design. Like the first vessel it will have the innovative hybrid propulsion system using diesel generators and ABB’s OnBoard DC grid and incorporate an energy storage system using batteries.
More recently, MHI Vestas placed a contract with Danish shipowner Esvagt for two newbuild SOVs for the Borssele III-IV and Triton Knoll offshore windfarms, a deal that also includes an option for an additional vessel for the Moray East offshore windfarm.
The contracts for the new vessels will run for up to 15 years and reinforces the strong relationship between Esvagt and MHI Vestas, who have collaborated since 2010. The Danish owner said the long-term nature of the contracts will also play a key role in minimising costs and ensuring an efficient operation. The two new vessels will be of Havyard 831L design.
MHI Vestas chief operating officer Flemming Ougaard said the deal builds on “many years of strong, innovative collaboration with Esvagt.” Esvagt and MHI Vestas have co-operated on windfarm service ships for eight years, notably on the Belwind 1 and Nobelwind 1 offshore windfarms in Belgium. In 2017, the newly-built SOV Esvagt Mercator began servicing the two windfarms.
Esvagt has five SOVs and a sixth in production. With the two new vessels, it will have eight custom-designed SOVs. The shipowner’s newly-appointed CEO, Peter Lytzen, said this emphasises Esvagt’s ambition in the offshore wind market. Esvagt previously worked with Havyard on the SOVs Esvagt Froude, Esvagt Faraday, Esvagt Njord and Esvagt Mercator.
The Havyard 831L will be 70.5 m long with accommodation for up to 60 people. The vessel is designed for maximum fuel efficiency and will be equipped with a compensated walk-to-work gangway and Esvagt’s specially-designed daughter craft. The new vessels will be delivered to Esvagt in Q3 2020 and Q1 2021.
Another new service operation vessel, built at Gondan shipyard in Spain for Norwegian shipowner Østensjø Rederi, started sea trials in August 2018 and arrived in Grimsby in the UK prior to entering service in September. The SOV, Edda Mistral, will work for Ørsted on the Race Bank and Hornsea Project One offshore windfarms off the coast of the UK.
Edda Mistral is a sister vessel to the recently delivered Edda Passat. Both have a length of approximately 81 m and a 17 m beam. They have capacity to accommodate up to 40 offshore wind technicians who will perform maintenance tasks on the windfarms. They have a crew of 20.
Both vessels are equipped with an Uptime 23-m heave-compensated walk-to-work gangway, a 3D motion-compensated crane and a crew transfer vessel (CTV) landing system with a bunkering facility for CTVs. In addition to the gangway, the vessels have a helideck and an 11-m daughter craft to safely transfer technicians to turbines.
Windea Offshore, the joint venture between German shipowner Bernhard Schulte, BUSS Offshore, EMS Maritime Offshore and SSC Wind has ordered a newbuild service operation vessel to support turbine maintenance by GE Renewable Energy. The vessel has been ordered from Ulstein Verft in Norway, which designed and built two vessels operated by Windea. The new unit is somewhat larger than the earlier two, Windea la Cour and Windea Leibnitz. Bernhard Schulte Offshore signed a contract with GE Renewable Energy to provide the newbuild SOV to support maintenance of the 66 Haliade 150-6MW turbines on the Merkur offshore windfarm in Germany.
The SX195 design has been modified to fulfil GE Renewable Energy’s requirements and the owner’s choice of mission equipment. It has a large, centrally-positioned walk-to-work, motion-compensated gangway and elevator tower for personnel and cargo transfers. It will also have a 3D motion-compensated crane capable of lifting 2 tonnes.
The onboard logistics concept includes a large storage capacity of which half will be underdeck in a controlled environment and a stepless approach to offshore installations. The vessel will be equipped with a fuel-efficient hybrid drive system including batteries.
Like the earlier vessels the company ordered from Ulstein, the new SOV will have the Ulstein X-STERN and X-BOW hullform. This will enable it to be positioned stern towards the weather, leading to improved seakeeping, greater operability and reduced power and fuel consumption while in dynamic positioning mode. The vessel will be 93.4 m long with a breadth of 18 m and will have accommodation for 120 people. The earlier vessels were 88 m in length with a breadth of 18 m and accommodation for 60 people.
Ulstein Design & Solutions is working on a new SOV concept for the US market
US outfit turns to Ulstein for Jones Act service operation vessel
Aeolus Energy in the US announced in October 2018 that it had signed an agreement with Ulstein Design & Solutions to design a service operation vessel (SOV).
When constructed, the vessel will be Jones Act-compliant and will serve as an initial Aeolus investment in a fleet of vessels including cable ships, crew transfer vessels and hotel ships, all designed to service the offshore wind industry from installation through to decommissioning.
Aeolus is committing to construct each of its vessels at US shipyards. The Aeolus fleet will be fully Jones Act-compliant, ultimately consisting of vessels spanning the full range of offshore windfarm requirements. Currently such a fleet does not exist in the US.
Aeolus Energy Inc chief executive Elia Golfin said, “The design and ultimate construction of these vessels will result in significant job creation and is a demonstration of confidence in the American shipbuilding industry.
“We are excited to be working with Ulstein, an established market leader in vessel design for offshore wind. We look forward to pushing the envelope in the offshore wind industry where Jones Act-compliant vessels are concerned.”
Aeolus has contracted with Ulstein for an SOV based on Ulstein’s proven SX195 design. The vessel will be fully customised to Aeolus’s specifications.