Van Oord has ordered a new offshore installation vessel to further strengthen its market position in offshore wind. The jack-up vessel can operate on methanol and install up to 20 MW wind turbines at sea with a very low CO2 footprint. The ship is expected to enter the market in 2024.
The new 175-metre offshore installation vessel will be purpose-built for the transport and installation of foundations and turbines at offshore wind farms. With a top-class crane – supplied by the Dutch company Huisman – it can lift more than 3000 tonnes. The vessel has an advanced jacking system. Four giant legs, each measuring 126 metres, allow the vessel to be jacked up and work in waters up to 70 metres deep. This investment is part of a EUR 1 billion fleet investment programme over the next five years. In December 2020, Van Oord had already ordered a new green cable-laying vessel at VARD in Norway.
‘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 per cent more deck space and over eighty per cent more lifting capacity.’
Methanol and active emissions control
Van Oord has already ordered three LNG-fuelled trailing suction hopper dredgers, which will be completed in 2022. The new installation vessel will be able to run on the future fuel methanol. Running on methanol, reduces the ship’s CO2 footprint by more than 78 per cent. In addition, the vessel will be equipped with an advanced active emissions control technology (Selective Catalytic Reduction) to reduce NOx emissions to an absolute minimum. An installed 5000-kWh battery pack can take the peak loads and regenerate energy to reduce the fuel consumption (and corresponding emissions) even further.
The vessel is being built by the Yantai CIMC Raffles Shipyard in China. The design is by Knud E Hansen. Components such as the Huisman crane and other technical systems are delivered to the yard by the various suppliers and integrated on site. The ship is expected to enter the market in 2024 and will work under the Dutch flag. Van Oord has also taken an option on a second vessel.
Jaap de Jong, Director Ship Management of Van Oord adds: ‘To become carbon neutral by 2050, we look for new fuel technologies. We see methanol as one of the alternatives to meet the industry’s goals to reduce its environmental impact. Similar steps have already been made in our investment programme with the construction of three LNG-fuelled trailing suction hopper dredgers and the ordering of a new green cable-laying vessel.’
Growing offshore wind capacity
The investment is in line with the increasing global demand for offshore wind farms. In the Netherlands, Van Oord was one of the first offshore companies (first time mover) to invest in offshore wind. It has also been involved in projects including the Princess Amalia Wind Farm, Eneco Luchterduinen Wind Farm, Gemini, Borssele III & IV, and this will be followed in the next few years by Hollandse Kust (North). Van Oord also operates outside Europe, including as an EPCI contractor (engineering, procurement, construction and installation) for the Sofia Offshore Wind Farm being built on the Dogger Bank in the middle of the North Sea.
The European Union aims to install 300 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2050, and worldwide this is expected to be 2000 GW. In the Netherlands, the goal is to realise 20 GW up to 2030 and another 20 GW in the next decade. Wind turbines at sea are also rapidly getting bigger. In 2002, there were wind turbines of 2 MW, nowadays turbines of 14 MW are installed. The rotor blades are already well over a hundred metres long and the transport and installation requires larger ships. Van Oord is investing in a new vessel to transport and install the next generation of 20-MW wind turbines.