Wärtsilä, the marine industry’s leading ship power systems integrator, has signed a contract with Lamprell of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to supply a complete ship power system for a new wind turbine installation vessel (WTIV).

Wärtsilä’s solution has been selected for its low fuel consumption, environmentally sound technology and global service support. The vessel’s owner is Fred. Olsen Windcarrier, and it is scheduled to be launched in summer 2012. This is the first in a series of two such vessels with an option for two more at a later date.

Christopher Heidenreich-Andersen, technical manager of Fred. Olsen Windcarrier AS, comments: “Wärtsilä will provide us with state-of-the-art diesel electric machinery, which will give us excellent operational flexibility and reliability, as well as lower emissions and reduced fuel consumption. We look forward to introducing this technology to the offshore wind industry.”

Lamprell’s project manager, Darren MacDonald, stated: “Wärtsilä meets all the requirements concerning the delivery strategy, and furthermore is aligned to our philosophy of not compromising on quality. We are confident in the company’s technology and capabilities to deliver environmentally efficient equipment on time, which fully supports our aim of setting new benchmarks for the quality and capability of vessels in this industry.”

The vessel is to be built by Lamprell, a UAE-based company specialising in marine and offshore newbuild constructions, and the refurbishing of rigs and lift boats for the oil and gas industries. Fred. Olsen Windcarrier, the ship’s owner, is a company established two years ago to meet the increasing demand for offshore WTIVs and other related marine service vessels.

The owner, the shipyard, the ship’s designer and Wärtsilä have worked in close co-operation to develop the vessel’s capability to efficiently carry out this work in the challenging conditions of the North Sea. As a provider of complete ship power solutions, Wärtsilä is able to optimise both the technical performance of the onboard equipment, and the overall operating costs of the vessel.

Flexible power generation

The engine configuration is based on fuel-efficient Wärtsilä medium-speed engines. The scope of supply includes one six-cylinder, two nine-cylinder and one 12-cylinder generating sets based on the Wärtsilä 32 engine, the bow thrusters, the power drive and the automation systems.

The operational profile of a WTIV requires appropriate power to meet the various operation modes, and Wärtsilä’s fully diesel electric machinery allows for such flexible power; for instance, by engaging only the required number of generating sets. This optimises engine loading, rationalises fuel consumption and ensures the most economical operation under all conditions. At the same time, the level of emissions is automatically controlled.

Huge potential demand

According to estimates by the European Wind Energy Association, the energy production from offshore wind resources will sharply increase. To meet increasing energy demands and the need to reduce CO2 emissions, as many as 20,000 offshore wind turbines are expected to be constructed over the coming ten years.

From 2020 to 2030, a further 40,000 windmills are likely to be installed, producing a cumulative power generating capacity of 150,000MW. This growth will in turn increase the expected demand for WTIVs.

Efficient solution

In commenting on the award of this contract, Arthur Boogaard, general manager, special segment sales, Wärtsilä, in the Netherlands, said: “The mechanical configuration of the ship has to take into consideration the vessel’s operational properties, and all the power requirements of the considerable amount of equipment onboard. We also had to provide the most efficient solution in terms of fuel consumption and exhaust emissions.

“Our ship machinery comparison and optimisation programme (ShipMaC) enables us to calculate both the capital and operational costs of each part of the system, and to optimise the levels of annual expenditure. This, together with our operations and maintenance services, is a prime reason for Wärtsilä being such a valuable long-term partner to its customers.”

The WTIV will be 131m long with a beam of 39m, and capable of speeds of up to 12kt. It will be capable of carrying heavy loads and equipped with dynamic positioning technology, and have good manoeuvrability in port. It will be able to transport on deck up to ten wind turbines, each with rotors of more than 100m diameter.

On arrival at location, the ship’s four legs are lowered to the sea floor and the vessel elevates itself using a jack-up system to become a stable working platform. The wind turbines are installed using the vessel’s 800t crane.