SeaOwls and Ulstein launched a pioneering heavy lift jack-up vessel design, the SOUL, allowing transport and installation of the next generation wind turbines with a capacity of 10 to 12 MW. The cruciform structural lay-out of the SOUL jack-up vessel makes the patent-pending solution more than 10 % lighter than conventional jack-up vessel designs. In combination with a high capacity crane, SOUL enables operators to install the next generation wind turbines with 10 to 12 MW in the same time frame as currently used for installing 6 to 8 MW units.
The SOUL series will come in various sizes, allowing the transport of 3 up to 6 of the 10 to 12 MW wind turbines. Still, all loading and installation operations can be performed without the need of ballast water.
“The development of this novel jack-up vessel is the logical next step in our strategy to widen our portfolio and become a leading company in supporting the offshore wind industry with more efficient assets”, says Tore Ulstein, Deputy CEO at Ulstein Group.
Scaling-up conventional heavy lift jack-up vessel designs proves challenging due to the disproportional weight increase compared to gain in Variable Deck Load (VDL).
“We noticed this created uncertainty with turbine manufacturers, wind farm operators and installation contractors on how to install the future generation wind turbines, as floating vessels are not a viable alternative”, comments Erik Snijders, Founder and Managing director at Rotterdam based SeaOwls, and continues: “So we went back to the optimal jack-up design, a square platform with the legs spaced out as much as possible. Rotating the platform by 45o provided a natural bow shape with two legs and the crane on vessel centre line.”
“This seemingly simple twist in the design allowed to make a huge improvement in operational aspects as well,” adds Bram Lambregts, Deputy Managing Director at Ulstein Design & Solutions BV. “With the main crane around the stern leg, optimal main deck reach and over-the-side lifting capabilities is created. And as the hull now houses much larger leg footings, bearing pressures on the seabed are reduced, while the wake of the spud cans does not interfere with the inflow to the propulsion thrusters.”
Silke Funke / Ulstein / SeaOwls