Chinese Yard Orders ABB Propulsion System for Giant Offshore Wind Installation Vessel

Van Oord offshore wind installation Jack Up vessel. Image credit: Van Oord
Van Oord offshore wind installation Jack Up vessel. Image credit: Van Oord

China's Yantai CIMC Raffles Shipyard has ordered an integrated power, automation, and propulsion system from ABB for a newbuild offshore wind installation jack-up vessel (JUV) being built for the Dutch marine contractor Van Oord.

The vessel, Boreas, is due for delivery to the owner in the second part of 2024, and it is said that it will be one of the largest and most technologically advanced hybridized units of the type in operation, measuring 175 meters in length.

 It will be able to lift over 3,000 tons and will feature 126-meter-tall legs allowing it to operate at depths of up to 70 meters jacked up, with a capacity to install up to 20 megawatts (MW) offshore wind turbines.

"Boreas will be equipped with four Azipod propulsion units with a combined propulsion power of 16 megawatts, offering significant space and weight savings as well as facilitating optimal ship design, allowing the vessel to transport heavier loads. In addition, ABB’s hybrid-electric propulsion system is fully future-proof as it allows the integration of new energy sources once they become available," ABB said.

Azipod propulsion is a gearless steerable propulsion system where the electric drive motor is housed within a pod outside the ship hull. Azipod units can rotate 360 degrees, increasing maneuverability and operating efficiency of vessel while cutting fuel consumption by up to 20 percent compared to conventional shaftline systems.

“ABB is our long-term partner, and I believe we can enhance the business relationship with ABB by working together for Van Oord Jack-Up Vessel” said Shiyan Sun, Director, Supply  Chain Management Centre, Yantai CIMC Raffles Shipyard. “The ease of  installing the Azipod system was another key factor in our decision to  contract ABB; it is a matter of plugging the ready-made units into the  vessel hull, saving considerable time and effort in the construction  process.”

ABB’s package includes a closed-ring configuration for safer, more efficient, and more predictable operations. 

"Furthermore, through its spinning-reserve and peak-load-shaving capabilities, ABB’s energy storage system will act as a back-up power source while reducing engine running hours to minimize wear and fuel consumption," ABB said.

Remote diagnostic system

Van Oord will also be able to use the ABB Ability Marine Remote Diagnostic System for continuous remote equipment monitoring, as well as optimized machinery and planned maintenance activities, helping reduce maintenance costs. Meanwhile, the ABB Ability OCTOPUS – Marine Advisory System will enable performance management, predictive maintenance and voyage optimization.

“We are proud to have been chosen to provide power and propulsion for Boreas, based on our experience in the offshore JUV market and our ability to  tailor products and solutions to the needs of the owner, operator and shipyard,” said Rune Braastad, Global Business Line Manager, Marine  Systems, ABB Marine & Ports. “This project further confirms that our integrated package comprising power, energy storage, automation,  control and digital solutions is the preferred choice for vessels that  need to be future-proof and environmentally friendly.”

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