Towards zero emission wind park maintenance

Offshore wind turbines require Operations & Maintenance (O&M) on a regular basis. O&M activities are eitherperformed by shore-based Crew Transfer Vessels (CTVs), Service Operation Vessels (SOVs) or Wind Turbine Installation Vessels (WTIV) for large component replacements.

However, the fuel consumption of these vessels means that offshore wind energy is not entirely carbon free yet. To reduce CO2 emissions associated with wind energy production the industry is moving towards zero emission O&M vessels. MARIN is contributing to this development through several projects.

First of all zero emission support vessels require carbon-free energy sources, the storage of these and a different engine room layout. This requires significant changes to the ship and drive train. To support the design, optimisation and testing of novel engine rooms and drive trains, MARIN is developing its Zero Emission Lab (ZEL) and has initiated the ZERO JIP. Secondly, alternative energy sources require different fuelling approaches. Electric alternatives need either (unpractical) large battery packs on board or frequent charging. To facilitate electric charging e-buoys are under development for offshore wind parks. MARIN is contributing to this development through the Horizon 2020 MAGPIE project, led by the Port of Rotterdam.

Obviously, the charging strategy has to fit with the operational profile of the vessel. This requires the detailed planning of maintenance activities for the long-term, mid-term and short-term. Maintenance operations are improved by onboard weather-based decision support, including optimum route planning between turbines and optimum approach advice. MARIN gained expertise in this in recent years through the Offshore Maintenance (OM) JIP I & II and the Offshore Operational Advisory Systems (OOAS) JIP.

Finally, energy usage on support vessels can be reduced by smart interaction between multiple onboard control systems. For example: for SOVs the power consumption of the DP system (heavy user) can be reduced by first using the motion compensating gangway (lighter user) to its limits. The smart interaction between control systems is being explored in the ‘Innovation in Control’ JIP.

Looking for ways to reduce the CO2 emissions of your wind turbine support vessel and to increase performance? Then contact us.

Jorrit-Jan Serraris |