Posted on December 6, 2022
Wärtsilä is working with Texas-based startup Bluetec to bring a new lower-cost wind turbine installation concept to life.
Like Allseas’ clean-sheet approach to platform decommissioning, Bleutec’s Binary Marine Installation Solution (BMIS) is a full rethink of the turbine installation process. The company’s intent is to provide an alternative to ultra-expensive installation vessels, and it is specifically designing for markets where the cost of shipbuilding is elevated due to cabotage.
Instead of one big wind turbine installation vessel (WTIV), the BMIS concept uses two construction vessels: a DP2, gantry-equipped “Piling Installation Vessel” for super-heavy monopiles and a “WTIV-Light” jackup crane ship. Neither will have accommodations on board: instead, the work crew will sleep and eat aboard a standard service operation vessel (SOV).
“As turbines have grown, we’ve seen the size of the monopiles grow and the nacelles grow. We’re getting to a size range where steel weights and installation vessel sizes are becoming cost prohibitive,” says Bo Jardine, Bluetec’s Chief Innovation Officer. “We’re creating a lighter, more cost effective solution that can still fulfill all the operational parameters.”
Wärtsilä will serve as system integrator and propulsion supplier for the vessels, which will run on the popular Wärtsilä 32 engine platform – in this case, a new methanol-fueled version. They will employ Wärtsilä’s Low Loss Concept power distribution system, which does not use transformers. This saves weight, which is an important factor for a jack-up vessel. The power system also incorporates battery storage for increased efficiency.
“Wärtsilä has taken an active role in this project, and their technical expertise and broad experience are very important to the success of the concept,” says Robin Bodtmann, CEO of Bleutec.
Bluetec’s first hulls will be built in the U.S. in order to provide an affordable solution for the Jones Act market. Delivery is scheduled for early 2026, and the vessel operator will be Dutch startup Penthus.