As the offshore wind industry continues to expand across the globe, wind parks are going further from shore and the turbine sizes are increasing rapidly. Here we highlight how we assist our clients with the development of novel installation methods – from concept to operation.

Test model of wind turbine installation vessel

To accommodate the transport and installation of the 10MW-plus turbines, larger jack-up vessels are being designed. Besides the traditional resistance and propulsion, seakeeping and dynamic positioning analyses, leg load and operability analysis are vital for the critical jack-up phase of the operation.

Feeder barge concepts have also been on the drawing board for many years. These barges can be floating or rigidly connected to the installation vessel. However, the challenge for the floating barges is to deal with the motions of the barge, while lifting components from the deck. For the rigid connection alternative, the main challenges are the impacts between the barge and installation vessel during connection and the wave loads on both vessels. MARIN performs numerical motion analyses and concept model tests to determine the feasibility and operability of feeder barge solutions.

Dynamic positioning is a state-of-the-art approach for the installation of foundations and transition pieces. To overcome vessel motions, compensation and control systems are integrated on board. Examples are motion compensated cranes, lifting equipment and pile grippers. We carry out numerical assessments, model tests and develop interactive training simulators to demonstrate the feasibility of these innovative systems, and to optimise operations and the performance of the crew.

A very different installation approach is deployed for Gravity Based Structures. Instead of lifting the foundation, this method consists of towing it towards the wind farm and submerging it on the spot. The motion behaviour during the tow and while submerging are critical in the installation process. By deploying the knowledge and methods from our recent GBS wind JIP (see we can also assist our clients with GBS installation.

We work closely together with our clients to increase the efficiency of wind turbine installations -from concept to operation. We look forward to helping them in the future as they continue to pioneer in this ever evolving sector.