Groundbreaking lifting technology accelerates energy transition

The energy transition is in full swing worldwide. Accelerating processes to speed up the transition is very complicated. But it is necessary because resources, materials and labour are scarce and often already fully utilised. Iv has helped the Dutch company Seaqualize develop the design for the Heave Chief 1100: a new lifting tool that can safely, quickly and simply lift and install wind turbine components weighing up to 1100 tonnes from a floating vessel. As a result, work on offshore wind farms can continue in stronger winds and higher waves, which is not possible with conventional systems.

 

The Seaqualize Heave Chief 1100 (HC1100) is a breakthrough in this regard. The compact lifting device can lift objects weighing 1100 tonnes from a floating vessel and place or install them on a fixed or moving object while the crane vessel itself rolls and pitches. The HC1100 is currently on its first assignment at an offshore wind farm off the American coast of Massachusetts. The heave compensator hangs in the hook of an existing offshore crane on board the supply vessel transporting the turbine components.

Unique in its kind

So why is this project and application so unique? Firstly, there is currently no other lifting device that can safely and efficiently lift such large wind turbine components (or other objects) to and from a floating vessel or from a floating vessel to a fixed object in this way. Over the next few decades, thousands of wind turbines (or other energy hubs) will be installed at sea. While offshore construction can typically only be carried out at a rapid pace during a limited part of the year – the summer months – Seaqualize estimates that work will continue for an average of eighty percent of the year because the tool can be deployed in poor weather conditions and high seas; literally accelerating the energy transition. In addition, the HC1100 is completely wireless, and the battery only requires a recharge after approximately 12 hours of operation, saving time and limiting emissions compared to current diesel-powered offshore machines.

 

 

Operation

The HC1100 can hold a suspended load of 1100 tonnes, the equivalent of approximately twenty HGVs with fully loaded trailers, still against the motions of the vessel, thus facilitating the lifting and installation of the largest wind farm components from a floating vessel. The heave compensator has been extensively tested and can compensate for the vessels’ motions at sea due to swell, making installation safer, faster, and more straightforward. Not only does its operation require relatively little power, but it is also controlled, without large impact loads and without the load landing multiple times on the vessel. The HC1100 has an ‘active tracking mode’ that, in effect, copies every motion of a heaving vessel up to a wave height of 3.5 metres. By mimicking the motions, the HC1100 makes the same movements, preventing the suspended object from striking the vessel.

 

High requirements at sea

Seaqualize involved Iv in developing the mechanical part of the HC1100 from the very first design. Xander Verseveldt, Mechanical Project Manager at Iv: “We developed the concept design into the final design for the structural and mechanical part of the project.” The application and the high requirements made this project quite a challenge. The HC1100 will be working at sea, so it is highly undesirable for damage to occur or maintenance to be required. Simply returning to shore is not an option. “This tool operates in many different configurations. It contains a lot of mechanical components and pivots that we have integrated into a relatively small area. In combination with the high requirements, this has been a really nice project for us,” says Xander. The project was so well received by Seaqualize that Iv was also asked to upgrade the HC600 to 750 tonnes: the HC750.

Pressure cooker

The eleven-metre-high Heave Chief 1100 has been extensively assessed and tested in advance. The design was tested by simulating the different load combinations and analysing the stress distribution in the various components. The final design was concluded, and the lifting device was built. Iv remained closely involved throughout this phase. The tempo and short lines of communication between the client, the contractor and the Iv design team created a pressure cooker effect: the HC1100 was built and successfully tested in a relatively short time.

 

Making an impact

The HC1100 will help accelerate the energy transition. Seaqualize devised the concept and technology behind this lifting tool. Iv has now become a permanent partner for mechanical engineering. Gjalt Lindeboom, Managing Director of Seaqualize adds: “In particular, the knowledge required to design moving, high-precision and heavy offshore tools is present and available at Iv. Iv is to the point, realistic and efficient in its communication and has all the structural design expertise in-house. We see Iv as a solid partner in developing our products.”

 

 

The work for Seaqualize is not yet complete. After the HC750 and HC1100, plans are already underway to develop the HC2000. The name says it all: this big brother of its two predecessors will be capable of installing objects and components weighing no less than 2 million kilos. The design process for this is certainly no ‘copy-paste’ exercise. The increased lifting capacity requires necessary adjustments to the design.

 

Out of the ordinary

Xander: “There’s a certain amount of pride that we were able to be a part of this”, he says. “The process was fascinating, and it has been built really well. It’s great that we’ll be working together again.” Jaco van der Schans, Managing Director of Iv-Consult, shares his opinion: “Seaqualize’s wealth of knowledge and pioneering ideas have left a lasting impression on me. We pride ourselves on accepting ‘out of the ordinary’ projects like this. Our team is trained to take on such challenges. This is why we’ve had such a fantastic time, and we look forward to our next collaboration.”

Would you like to know more?

Jaco, managing director of Consult, would be delighted to discuss this with you! Get in touch via  088 943 3100 or send a message.

Send Jaco a message
Jaco van der Schans