DEME brings change to offshore wind farm installation as Orion joins fleet
DEME’s offshore installation behemoth Orion is set to bring the company’s revolutionary installation concept to the offshore energy market. The vessel is ready for deployment following the christening ceremony held at DEME’s base in Vlissingen, shortly after it arrived from Bremerhaven.
Equipped with its powerful, 5,000-tonne crane and a unique Motion Compensated Pile Gripper this gentle giant is designed to handle the next generation of wind farm components. However, the vessel was a bit of a problem child for DEME as its crane let go during a load test in 2020.
To make sure such incident does not happen, DEME has reinforced the crane with two “boom stoppers”: horizontal beams that were developed in response to the incident. “Should something like this happen again, the crane will not be able to fully turn and fall backwards, as it happened then,” Jan Gabriël, head of new construction and conversion service, told Schuttevaer.
No more mooring anchors
To enable the new installation vessel to handle the future generations of giant turbines and foundations, Orion is also equipped with an integrated Motion Compensated Pile Gripper (MCPG), which has been designed by DEME’s and Huisman’s expert engineers. Coupled with the vessel’s DP3 capability, the MCPG allows the monopiles to remain vertical and stable during installation, despite motions of the ship and waves, and crucially, to be installed without the use of mooring anchors.
Combining these engineering technologies and ability to transport the new giant turbines, jackets and components in a single shipment, Orion will speed up installation times dramatically, making the vessel an extremely cost-effective solution for wind farm developers.
Mean green machine Orion ready for Arcadis Ost 1
Sustainability considerations are also a vital part of the vessel’s design. Orion has dual fuel engines enabling it to run on LNG or alternative clean fuels, a Green Passport and Clean Design notation. Another environmental innovation is a waste heat recovery system that converts heat from the exhaust gases to electrical energy. The evaporation of LNG also cools the accommodation with a cold recovery system.
Orion will shortly set sail for its first project in Germany, where XL foundations will be installed at the Arcadis Ost 1 offshore wind farm. This will be followed by a decommissioning project in the UK. Orion will also be deployed for the installation of 176 foundations at the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Farm in the US, one of the largest offshore wind developments in the world.