Australia-based National Ports Corporation subsidiary, Windthrust has revealed its new concept of a combined self-propelled port facility and wind turbine installation vessel which it claims could half installation costs for offshore wind farms.
The Oceandock LX has a 60,000m2 clear deck area, 700,000m3 of underdeck area and over 600 metres of docking space for the safe berthing of multiple feeder ships delivering wind turbine components. The innovative floating port solution provides stable and secure storage for over 500,000 tonnes of substations, monopile foundations and wind turbine generator components. Furthermore, it can accommodate over 100 personnel and is not required to return to port for reloading.
Like the oil rig dismantling vessel Pioneering Spirit, the Oceandock LX is a multi-hull design but whereas the Dutch owned ship has two hulls, Oceandock LX has three and has an open deck area spanning all three hulls.
The Principal Particulars of the structure are
- Overall length: 292m
- Beam: 215m
- Deadweight: 500,000 tonnes
- Weather deck loading strength 25 tonnes m² or as specified by the client.
The vessel would be self-propelled and able to move between employments under its own motive power. It would also have dynamic positioning for precise manoeuvring and positioning. It would be self sufficient having a pair of tugs for use in assisting feeder vessels to moor alongside.
It would also be equipped with two 2,600 tonne cranes and a 6,000 tonne crane able to position a 6,000 tonne substation topside in a single lift. All three cranes can access any part of the main deck and can work in conjunction with each other as needed.
Windthrust says that currently two or more installation vessels are required to install each turbine. The Oceandock offers a safe, practical, and cost-effective alternative to current systems such as jack-up vessels which are inadequate and far too small. Jack-up vessels can only carry three to a maximum of six wind turbine generators, therefore once these are installed, the vessel must return to port for reloading. The Oceandock is not required to return to the port for reloading and can simultaneously unload wind turbine components from feeder ships, assemble and install complete wind turbine generators, substations and monopile foundations.
The assembly of the wind turbine generators take place at near deck level; making it possible for the complete wind turbine generator units to be placed in position in one single lift, making this operation safer and faster
The company list the advantages as:
- Large (60,000 m²) clear deck floating port and supply base.
- Safe installation for wind turbines generators of any size.
- The location of wind farms is not limited to near shore.
- It can be positioned and operate in any water depth.
- Easily accessible by any type and size of feeder vessels.
- The secure and stable 500,000dwt Oceandock LX can accommodate over 100 persons
- Reduction of the supply chain, time, costs, and risks.
- Scalable – The size of the Oceandock LX can be customised.
- The Oceandock LX can safely operate in 8 metres wave height.
- Minimises footprint in sensitive coastal areas.
- Capital effective mobile port infrastructure.
- Safe and secure docking facilities for multiple vessels.
- Reduction of supply chain costs and risks.
- Rapidly deployed in any part of the word.
- Alternative applications across industries.
- Economy of scale, an entire field of offshore wind turbines generators can be stored, assembled and installed.
- It can be purchased or chartered
- One-stop service.
Windthrust says that the concept will eliminate port costs involved in wind farm projects as all deliveries can be made direct to the Oceandock. There would also be a reduction in handling operations for components and no need for onshore storage facilities. Time savings would be made as all components would be stored on board.