A Louisiana-based offshore services firm and naval architects plan to build a new ‘Superfeeder’ class of vessel to provide offshore wind energy developers a Jones Act-compliant system for transporting turbine components from U.S. ports to installation sites.
According to 2nd Wind Marine LLC, Galliano, the 408’x131’x16.4’ ‘SuperFeeder’ will be a fully DP-2 dynamic positioning vessel, propelled by three diesel-electric 2,500-kW Z-drives and two 1,200-kW tunnel bow-thrusters, and capable of 10 knots cruising speed while fully loaded with turbines, foundations and blades.
Developed by naval architects MiNO Marine LLC, Jefferson, the design is planned for two vessels to be built simultaneously, completed in 2021 to work on more than a dozen wind energy areas leased by developers off the East Coast.
“They will each be capable of transporting one complete set next-generation wind turbine components from U.S. ports to offshore wind farm sites, enabling optimized construction throughput and the most efficient utilization of non-Jones Act compliant wind turbine installation vessels,” according to a statement from the companies.
With early U.S. wind projects dependent on U.S. ‘feeder barges’ carrying components to foreign-flag European wind turbine installation vessels – and the first Jones Act WTIV still a few years away – the time is right for the superfeeder concept, according to Joseph A. Orgeron, business and technology developer for 2nd Wind Marine.
The vessels’ power systems will be primarily diesel-electric with medium speed Tier-IV engines. The hulls and superstructures will be configured to accommodate the coming generation of 12-megawatt and larger turbine parts.
The design has the house offset asymmetrically to the port side, allowing more bow deck space to accommodate larger vertically stacked blade racks. Below decks will accommodate up to 60 persons, counting 20 crew and 40 offshore workers, in single and double berthed, MLC-2006 compliant staterooms.
The cargo deck rated to transport, and jack up with, 4,000 metric tons has a double deck, so changes in grillage can be easily facilitated without concern to tank and void spaces below. Each vessel is intended to carry a complete next-generation turbine set, including tower, generator nacelle and blades.
A unique Liebherr-designed crane, installed around a jacking leg with an offset-pedestal, will allow access to more than 95 percent of the vessel’s cargo deck space. Its lifting capacity will be up lifting each component of next-generation turbines from quayside to the cargo deck. With an extended boom variant, the crane will enable operators to change out blades at sea in the wind turbine arrays.