Designs for a next-generation wind installation vessel designed to work with the larger 15-20 MW wind turbine installations have been awarded an Approval in Principle (AIP) by class society ABS. The vessel is designed to be hydrogen-ready and also uses a unique vertical load for monopiles to enhance the installation process.
The NP20000X ULAM design developed by naval architects by NED-Project working with GPZ Energy is intended to be Jones Act compliant and able to meet future offshore wind market demands. The design employs an innovative approach loading monopiles vertically on the 8,000 square-meter (m2) deck, eliminating the need to rotate the monopiles to the vertical position at sea. This the companies said would increase the efficiency and safety of the installation operation.
"There is significant potential for growth in the U.S. offshore wind market, and we are confident our WTIV design has the attributes required to deliver this. The scale, power, and handling capacity, as well as the innovative way it handles the monopiles, means this is perfectly adapted to serve the U.S. industry," said Peter Novinsky, spokesperson for GPZ Energy.
The design is hydrogen-ready with the engine rooms able to be converted into fuel cell compartments accommodating polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells, making it possible to rely solely on liquefied hydrogen (LH2) to meet its energy demands. The design also includes a leg encircling heavy cargo crane with a working load of 3,500 metric tons capable of handling turbines of 240-meter rotor diameter and 150-meter tower height.
ABS highlighted that it used its extensive knowledge of U.S. regulations combined with experience in the global offshore industry to support this project. “ABS is committed to playing a significant role in the safe development of the U.S. offshore wind industry,” said Greg Lennon, ABS Vice President, Offshore Wind.
The class society has taken a leadership role in the US offshore wind market, including serving as class society for the first Jones Act compliant WTIV, the Charybdis. ABS also supported the first U.S flagged Jones Act offshore wind farm service operation vessel (SOV) ordered as well as ABS-classed the first crew transfer vessel (CTV), the Windserve Odyssey, which is being built for the U.S. market.
The rapid growth planned for the installation of offshore wind farms in the U.S. is expected to spur the U.S. shipbuilding industry. Late in 2020, the U.S. confirmed that it will apply the Jones Act to the offshore wind sector similarly to how the cabotage regulations have governed elements of the offshore oil industry.