Increasing Workability of Offshore Operations DEME's "Innovation" Vessel

Global warming. Air pollution. Health & safety risks. Nuclear disasters.

There are clearly quite a few good reasons to focus on renewable wind energy. And with most of the accessible windy spots on land already spoken for, the vast open area of the seas are today's big opportunity - offshore wind energy. With strong & predictable winds, undisturbed by any trees or buildings nearby, it's a dream for anyone building a business case.

But those windy conditions are also what makes the installation of the wind turbines an engineering challenge, cutting profitability if not properly tackled. That is where DEME, based in Antwerp, Belgium, comes in. Known for a long time as a major dredging company, they have expanded their focus to into environmental solutions as well. The sea is their home and they've come up with numerous creative solutions to master the harsh offshore conditions.

Deme Ship
© DEME NV

One such example is their flagship vessel Innovation. It can move to the right location, carrying the wind turbine components, and then jack itself up to stand on 4 legs. This stability is absolutely necessary to install the foundations, tower, hub and blades of the wind turbines. The total capacity of this jack-up system is over 30.000 tonnes!

Deme Wind Direction

During installation, in jacked up setup, it is crucial to understand the loads acting on the ship and the 4 large jack-up trusses. You can get a first estimate using basic theoretical formulae for the aerodynamic & hydrodynamic drag, but you'll be left with large safety margins as they are too far from the real, complex shape of the trusses. Using AirShaper simulations for both the truss parts above and below the water, DEME was able to determine the loads more precisely, safely increasing the loading capacity and thus workability of their vessel!

Are aerodynamic & hydrodynamic forces critical for the safety of your operation? Contact us at [email protected] and we'll discuss your project.

Supported by

  • Solar Impulse
  • iMec
  • Voxdale

Code contributions by

  • KU Leuven
  • Inholland
  • Linkoping University