Spot-on design developments in renewables

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​With the introduction of the Alfa Lift design, Ulstein has provided the market with the next step in heavy lift vessel design. With Offshore Heavy Transport (OHT) as launching customer, this heavy lift transport and installation vessel is set to be the new benchmark in the offshore renewables and installation market.

The first vessel, with options for up to another 3 units, will be constructed by China Merchant Heavy Industry (CMHI).

What makes this dynamically-positioned, 48,000 DWT vessel exceptional is the ability to perform heavy lift crane operations with the main deck submerged.

The patent-pending design combines the benefits of a semi-submersible transport vessel with a large, 3,000 mt lifting capacity main crane from Liebherr.

The vessel’s capabilities match the future requirements of the offshore wind industry, allowing her to transport and install up to 10 x 1,500t ultra-large jacket foundations or 11 x 2,000t XXL monopiles plus transition pieces for the largest anticipated Wind Turbine Generators.

«We started the development of the ULSTEIN Alfa Lift idea back in 2015 with the driver to increase the safety of submerged operations and at the same time increasing the operability window for subsea installations using a crane,» says Edwin van Leeuwen, managing director at Ulstein Design & Solutions BV.

«Creating a new design with this combination of functionalities has its own, specific challenges. But then again, challenges are what we are good at!,» states van Leeuwen.

'This vessel's design is a direct hit'

Torgeir E. Ramstad, CEO at OHT says: «It is great to work with such capable people. When we approached Ulstein with our intended strategy to enter the offshore renewables market and the idea of adding crane capacity to a semi-submersible heavy lift transport vessel, Ulstein presented their Alfa Lift solution on the spot.»

He continues: «That was a direct ‘hit’, as it allows us to enter the installation market, at the same time expanding on our capabilities in OHT’s core market.»

2018 yard contracts in offshore wind

In 2018, Ulstein’s own yard, Ulstein Verft, has secured 3 construction contracts related to offshore wind:
- 1 SOV for Acta Marine
- 1 SOV for Bernhard Schulte
- 1 cable lay vessel for Nexans

The SOVs (Service Operation Vessels) are designed by Ulstein, and feature the branded hull solutions X-BOW and X-STERN.

X-BOW
The X-BOW has a looks that differs from the more conventional bow designs.

But there´s much more to it than the looks: Instead of simply rising on the waves and then dropping with tremendous force, the X-BOW is able to absorb the force more consistently across its surface – enabling the ship to remain more stable during poor weather conditions, increasing comfort for passengers and crew alike. And because it uses less fuel to get through the waves, it also helps to save energy.

X-STERN
The next development, the X-STERN, has successfully proven itself in practice by increasing the operational window of service operation vessels. It is also suitable for other vessel types like cable layers., and has so far been introduced on totally 6 SOV designs.

Jones Act compliant SOV for Ulstein

Aeolus Energy awarded Ulstein the design contract to develop the first Jones Act compliant offshore wind Service Operations Vessel (SOV).

Based on Ulstein’s proven SX195 design, a customized version will be developed meeting the specific requirements of Aeolus and US Coast Guard. The contract marks Ulstein’s entry into the US offshore wind market and serves as Aeolus’ initial investment towards a fleet of vessels including cable ships, crew transfer vessels and hotel ships, all to be constructed by US shipyards.

Other vessels that were recently developed, are being built or have been delivered, destined for the offshore renewable or walk-to-work operations, include the heavy lift vessel Stella Energy for Jumbo, Kasteelborg for Wagenborg, Heerema's Aegir heavy lift vessel and the Van Oord subsea rock installation vessel Bravenes. In addition comes several SOVs contracted by, or currently operating for, Bernhard Schulte Offshore, Acta Marine and Subsea 7.

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