Floating installation of next-generation wind turbine generators

Floating Installation Offshore XXL Wind Turbines (FOX Project)

Due to the progressive increase in the size of turbines, the remote locations of the wind farms, and the water depth at the site, installing future offshore wind turbines is becoming increasingly challenging. Heerema Marine Contractors made the strategic decision to develop a novel and innovative way of installing the next generation of wind turbines. This action has been ongoing over the last two years and is designed to support clients in the offshore renewable energy market. The method is known as the Rotor Nacelle Assembly method (RNA method).

Extensive digital simulations were conducted to develop the RNA methodology, and the method has further been reviewed and approved by an independent third party. To showcase the application for the first time, Heerema, together with DOT and the Delft University of Technology, scheduled an offshore test campaign to demonstrate the RNA installation method in the field. The test program’s execution is expected to be in 2021, and the installation vessel used will be Sleipnir. The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy is supporting this demonstration project.

Challenges for installation of WTGs by means of a floating vessel

Current WTG designs use bolted flange-to-flange connections between the subsequent WTG parts installed offshore using multiple lifts. The largest technical challenge when using a floating installation vessel is the relative motion between the ship’s crane and the geostatic foundation of the offshore structure. One specific point of attention is the blade installation, which has been identified as the most critical part of the WTG installation offshore for any installation vessel.

FOX project, coming soon!

The FOX project aims to confirm the technical feasibility and obtain valuable operational data. This will help us calculate installation time and resulting cost savings for wind farms at different locations worldwide and different types of wind turbines. Stay tuned to see updates on the project!

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