JUNE 15, 2012 — Norwegian shipbuilder Fjellstrand has broken into the wind farm support vessel market with an innovative trimaran SWATH design, the WindServer. Ejsberg, Denmark, based World Maritime Offshore A/S has ordered six of the vessels for delivery in 2013 — and has optioned "several" more.
"With the fast growing offshore wind market, we see an increasing demand for high quality support vessels, that will be able to operate in higher waves at the wind farms, while ensuring higher performance in a safer way," says World Maritime Offshore managing director Peter Lykke-Kjeldsen. "The Fjellstrand WindServer is matching our requirements to a state of the art multifunctional vessel. The flexibility of these vessels enables us to operate with various tasks offshore i.e. crew transfer, cargo transfer, search and rescue, survey, diving operations, so we are confident that this major investment in a safe, modern and efficient fleet will contribute to the further development of World Marine Offshore as a leading company providing safety and support offshore."
Developed with the support of the U.K. based Carbon Trust, the Windserver draws on Fjellstrand's more than 30 years expertise with aluminum fast ferries, advanced motion dampening systems and offshore special vessels (OSV).
The aluminum hulls will be delivered in two sizes, 25 m and 30 m in length, carrying 12 and 24 service personnel respectively, with a service speed of 25 knots. Four engine installations powering two controllable pitch propellers ensure redundancy and flexibility to the operation.
The vessels will be equipped with ballasting systems to shift between rough weather SWATH mode and light weight transit mode. This, in combination with an integrated stabilizing foil, ensures a robust hull with low maintenance costs.
"The foil will have no moving parts", says naval architect Olav Kjetil Opheim who has been managing the WindServer project from its conception. He notes that by minimizing the number of complex installations, the investment and maintenance costs are kept to a minimum.
"Extensive model tank testing proves that this innovative hull ensures exceptional sea-keeping at both zero and high speeds," he says.
The offshore wind industry is looking to maximize operability and safety as wind farms move further offshore; into rougher waves and stronger winds. Designed to meet these needs, the WindServer was one of 13 concepts (from a total of 450 entries) shortlisted last year in the Carbon Trust Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) access competition. The competition aimed to identify and develop new access systems to dramatically improve the availability of turbines and the safety of people during the transfer to turbines.
The Carbon Trust, a non-profit funded mainly by the British Government, endeavors to accelerate the commercialization of innovative concepts that reduce carbon emissions and save energy. The OWA is a collaboration between the Carbon Trust and eight international energy companies (SSE Renewables, Statoil, DONG Energy, RWE Innogy, Scottish Power Renewables, Statkraft, Mainstream Renewable Power and E.ON) with licenses for 60 percent of the UK's offshore wind capacity.
Fjellstrand says the combination of the Carbon Trust support and the significant operational experience from the team at World Marine Offshore has given it a unique insight into the challenges faced by vessel operators.
It says that the WindServer order, along with the on-going construction of two large offshore vessels and four aluminum constructions for offshore projects, will secure continuous high activity for the shipyard through 2013.