Responding to the increasing global demand for offshore wind farms and the growth in the size of the installations, Dutch marine contractor Van Oord has ordered a new offshore installation vessel that will be the largest of its kind. Using emerging technologies, the jack-up vessel, which is expected to enter the market in 2024, can install up to 20 MW wind turbines while operating on methanol to maintain a very low CO2 footprint.
Van Oord highlights that offshore wind turbines are rapidly getting bigger. In 2002, when the company started in the wind energy sector, there were wind turbines of 2 MW, compared to the 14 MW turbines that are being installed currently. “The rotor blades are already well over a hundred meters long and the transport and installation require larger ships,” says Van Oord. The company is investing in a new vessel to transport and install the next generation of large wind turbines.
“Thanks to our experiences with the installation vessels Aeolus, MPI Resolution, and MPI Adventure, we have a good grasp of working with jack-up installation vessels,” says Arnoud Kuis, Managing Director Offshore Wind of Van Oord. “Now we are going one step further. The new ship will be the largest of its kind. Compared to the Aeolus, this new version has 88 percent more deck space and over 80 percent more lifting capacity.”
Since 2002, Van Oord reports that it has contributed to the installation of a cumulative renewable energy capacity of 14.5 GW, and it believes that demand for offshore wind farms remains high. The European Union they noted aims to install 300 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2050, and worldwide this is expected to be 2000 GW of offshore wind energy.
The new 574-foot offshore installation vessel was designed by Knud E Hansen and will be purpose-built by the Yantai CIMC Raffles Shipyard in China for the transport and installation of foundations and turbines at offshore wind farms. The design incorporates a large crane that will lift more than 3,000 tons.
The vessel also has an advanced jacking system. Four giant legs, each measuring over 400 feet will allow the vessel to be jacked up and work in waters up to 230 feet deep. The ship is expected to enter the market in 2024 and will work under the Dutch flag. Van Oord has also taken an option for a second WTIV.
To improve the environmental performance, the new installation vessel will also be able to run on methanol, which is one of the emerging future maritime fuels. By running on methanol, Van Oord estimates it will reduce the ship's CO2 footprint by more than 78 percent. In addition, the vessel will be equipped with an advanced active emissions control technology (Selective Catalytic Reduction) to reduce the NOx emission. An installed 5,000 kWh battery pack can take the peak loads and regenerate energy to reduce the fuel consumption further.
The investment in the new WTIV is part of a EUR 1 billion fleet investment program Van Oord is implementing over the next five years. In December 2020, Van Oord ordered a new green cable-laying vessel at VARD in Norway and recently has ordered three LNG-fueled trailing suction hopper dredgers, which will be completed in 2022.