The winds of opportunity – integrated solutions for offshore wind vessels

With the growth in demand for wind farms coinciding with the increasingly pressing need to decarbonise the maritime industry, finding solutions that can optimise efficiency for offshore vessels has never been more important.

With the growth in demand for wind farms coinciding with the increasingly pressing need to decarbonise the maritime industry, finding solutions that can optimise efficiency for offshore vessels has never been more important. In this webinar, four of Wärtsilä’s leading experts demonstrate how an integrated, tailored approach benefits shipyards and owners by de-risking investments, reducing CAPEX and ensuring an optimised vessel design that improves performance and supports decarbonisation.

We begin by taking a dip into the world of future fuels and blends followed by a deep dive into Wärtsilä’s integrated solutions for offshore wind vessels. We also share project management best practices before demonstrating how our integrated lifecycle offering helps to optimise vessel operations and reliability.


The decarbonisation clock is ticking

“The maritime industry has to follow the lead of others and take advantage of technological innovations from outside the industry if it is going to hit the IMO’s decarbonisation targets,” says Frank Harteveld, General Manager, Sales & Strategic Development, Fuel Gas Supply Systems. “The clock is ticking, so the industry needs to act now.”

He continues by highlighting that collaboration between all stakeholders is needed to help make the right decisions and minimise risks. “We can’t change the world in a day, and it’s clear that we will be dependent on fuel blends for quite some time before we can switch over completely to renewable fuels.”

According to Harteveld, the biggest pitfall on the road to decarbonisation is continuing with the traditional way of specifying vessels, which can lead to excessive lifecycle costs and leave owners with expensive assets that are stranded in the past. “We need to shift from product-oriented delivery towards integrated system solution delivery, which helps to de-risk complex projects; we also need to develop new tools and maintain a strong focus on lifecycle agreements in order to optimise vessel performance.”


Dual-fuel engines the key enabler for decarbonisation

Wärtsilä’s proven dual-fuel engine technology can already burn a wide variety of different fuels but, as Harteveld explains, fuel blends complicate matters somewhat in terms of engine performance: “Fuel blends make it challenging both for us as a manufacturer and for owners and operators to define the framework in which the engine can operate in terms of emissions. When it comes to what fuel to select, there is no silver bullet and there are several different routes to decarbonisation.”

“Every fuel comes with its own challenges; it’s about making the right compromises in terms of vessel performance and operations. Every gramme of fuel we can save counts towards lowering emissions. Moving forward we need to have a good understanding of the different fuels and the fuel blends available. Only with a very high degree of integration and the realisation that we are part of a wider value chain can we make this happen,” Harteveld concludes.


Early involvement is the key to optimised design

Speaking about the design process, Boogaard points out that early involvement is key to ensure the development of an optimised, integrated solution that is far greater than the sum of its individual parts. The basis of the entire process is a detailed analysis of the vessel’s operational profile. “With our advanced design tools we can simulate vessel routings, recommend the optimal thruster capacity and location for dynamic positioning operations based on environmental conditions, and optimise the genset configuration to achieve maximum efficiency.”

To illustrate Wärtsilä’s capabilities, Boogaard presents an example propulsion analysis case where Wärtsilä’s integration expertise delivered significant benefits for the customer. “We were able to optimise the thruster arrangement and capacity and reconfigure the electrical system to reduce complexity and improve redundancy and efficiency. The end result was a weight reduction of 95 tons, space saving of 150 m2 and lower CAPEX and OPEX,” concludes Boogaard.

Project management best practices

Continuing the webinar, Kim Strömbäck, Director, Project Management for Europe, Africa and the Americas clarifies that Wärtsilä’s integrated solutions approach comprises three dimensions: project services, lifecycle solutions and an integrated product portfolio. “As Arthur pointed out, early involvement and a deep understanding of the vessel’s operational profile and modes is critical to create an optimised system definition and functional specification. This is supported by a matrix that defines all the interfaces we manage within Wärtsilä and how we integrate with external systems onboard the vessel. Based on this we can make a product offering that is complemented by a project services offering.”

Discussing how Wärtsilä’s integrated approach benefits vessel owners, Strömbäck explains that the goal is to maximise vessel availability, guarantee long-term performance, reduce operational risks and increase profitability. For shipyards the focus is on reducing risk and speeding up the build phase with pre-engineered, pre-tested systems and optimised products with clearly defined interfaces.


Key success factors in windfarm vessel projects

“From projects we have been involved in we can identify three key factors, the first of which is system validation during factory testing because this reduces the time needed for commissioning. Next is early checks and alignments on the vessel’s load requirements to ensure that the thrusters, DP system and engines will work together optimally. Finally, we have learned the value of having a site manager on location to coordinate activities, supported by a dedicated project management team, which ensures smooth communication between all parties and provides a single point of contact for the client.”

Strömbäck finishes with an overview of Wärtsilä’s customised execution model that ensures clients receive exactly the level of support they need: “Every customer and shipyard is different; one size does not fit all, so our goal is to define right from the start how best to support the customer.”


Lifecycle solutions for windfarm vessels

Concluding the presentations is Mark Keneford, General Manager, Area Sales, USA & Canada with his overview of Wärtsilä’s lifecycle solutions offering, which is divided into three levels: enhanced support, optimised maintenance and guaranteed asset performance.

“Enhanced support includes advanced remote support for everything from technical issues to parts ordering, service requests and maintenance planning. Taking things up a level, optimised maintenance uses advanced anomaly-detection tools and data-driven dynamic maintenance planning to optimise maintenance intervals according to actual need while ensuring asset reliability and performance. This reduces and streamlines maintenance costs for the client over the long term, providing greater predictability.”

“The third level, guaranteed asset performance, brings the best out of our integrated scope of supply. Here, we work closely with the client to identify mutually agreed KPIs and define guarantees to help meet them. Examples of typical KPIs include fuel consumption, maintenance costs and emissions levels.

“Our lifecycle support concept for the complex MPSOVs we’re seeing in the US market covers every aspect: gensets, fuel gas supply systems, NOx reducers, thrusters, electrical and automation systems, propulsion control and dynamic positioning, and bridge and navigation systems. Combining these with our lifecycle solutions allows us to build a solid long-term partnership with the client based on guarantees for asset reliability and longevity that we stand behind 100%.”

To find out more about Wärtsilä’s integrated solutions for offshore wind vessels, watch the webcast in full or visit our offshore wind page.

Written by
Charlie Bass