Motion Compensation Technology for the Offshore Wind Industry
At X-Laboratory we develop advanced motion compensation technology for offshore heavy lifting. Our Product-range of motion compensation systems enables the installation of Offshore Wind Assets faster, more efficiently and with lower CO2 emissions than with currently established methods.
Motion Compensation Technology can significantly reduce the cycle-times of offshore wind construction by increasing the workability limits (the extreme weather events until which an installation can be carried out), by extending weather-windows (the durations during which an installation can take place) and by increasing the installation speed for various components. Our technologies are especially targeted at the blades and the installation of the fixed bottom structures (monopiles), which have most impact on the overall installation times.
Advanced motion compensation systems increase robustness against high winds and waves and ensure to deliver highly accurate, fast and reliable installations year-round.
Cycle Time Analyses
We have carried out extensive cycle time analyses with our clients in order to determine the benefits that can be obtained. Tools such as e.g. ShoreLine or specific analysis software made available kindly to us by GreenGiraffe have helped us gaining understanding in which elements in a construction can be best optimised.
(*)/(**): derived from meteoblue climate data, number of days with wind-speed below limit, North-sea
(***): Feeder-barge scenario also enable additional time-savings not included here.
Efficiency Increase by accelerating blade installation
Our analyses show that increasing the tolerable wind-speed for performing a blade install operation has a major effect on shortening construction times. By advancing from the current maximum installation wind speed of approximately 6-7 m/s up to compatibility with 13.8 m/s (at 10 m), year-round installation is enabled. The limit of an installation season from April - November is then extended to full 12 months. This way, a Jackup vessel can increase its yearly install performance by 26%. With an average yearly performance of 70 turbines per year (industry average), this can lift the single-vessel installation performance easily up to 88+ turbine installs per year.
When applying advanced motion compensation control to installations performed from floating vessels instead of jackups, then, the effects are even more profound. Such transitioning from floating units may entail performance increases of up to more than 40% (considering P70 scenario analysis with a construction of an 80 turbines wind-park). Such increased efficiency would then result in up to 135 - 140 turbine installs per year per vessel, roughly doubling the construction speed of a wind-park.
Efficiency Increase by accelerating fixed bottom structure installations (Monopiles)
Further analyses show that performing a floating installation of the fixed foundations of the offshore turbines yields significant time and cost savings for offshore wind constructions. Our analyses predict that making use of motion compensated pile grippers, instead of fixed grippers on bottom-fixed jackup vessels, have the potential to nearly triple the installation yield.
Currently, industry performs at approximately 70 piles per year that can be installed within a 200-day vessel season. With advanced motion compensation technology, we expect to be able to raise this yield to beyond 140 piles per year per vessel, and maybe up to 200 piles per year - once our technology is fully matured. The X-Laboratory "X-Control Guidance System" automates not only the installation process, but also generates highly accurate post-piling installation (survey) reports which saves time on the vessel by making use of advanced sensor systems and process automation technologies instead of performing hand-operated survey measurements.
Installation of WTG Blades
The PuppeteerTM is a novel 6 DOF motion compensation system that enables faster blade installation by increasing robustness to winds of up to 13 m/s (at 10 m, 1 minute mean), by increasing the alignment and insertion cycle-time by enabling a full 6 degree of freedom position control of the blade-root with respect to the Nacelle and by performing (semi-)automatic blade installation in the future from both Jackup vessels as well as floating vessels. The Puppeteer will therefore enable year-round workability, from fixed Jackup vessels to floating WTG's, from floating vessels to fixed WTG's, as well as from floating vessels to floating WTG's.
Currently under development with an industrial partner.
Bottom-fixed foundation (Pile) Installations
X-Control Guidance System
The X-Control Guidance System is a Space-grade Guidance and Control system for marine motion compensation. It supports the motion compensation of monopile installations from floating vessels at sea with centimeter accuracy. The X-Lab Guidance system operates independently from a vessel's DP system, can send feed-forward commands to DP and is designed in a fail-safe DP2 redundant manner. The redundant technology performs real-time pile position-, inclination- and depth-monitoring and real-time control with unprecedented accuracy (±1 cm horiz., up to ± 2 cm vertical).
The X-Control Guidance System handles all transitions between the various operational steps during pile installations, from up-ending, to pile tracking, pile balancing and up to post-piling sail-off, (semi-)autonomously, enabling ground-breaking installation performances. The X-Control Guidance system can be made available to any motion compensated pile-gripper, in combination with our X-CAM+ Survey Sensor Suite
Product currently being tested at sea.
WTG Installations Offshore - Survey
X-Cam+ & X-DAR Survey Sensors and System Software Suite
Our full survey suite! The X-Cam+ is a highly advanced 6DOF Survey Measurement System allowing to fully automatically measure positions and attitude (inclinations) of Piles, Blades and other components of WTG's with unprecedented accuracy, robustly and fail-safe.
The X-DAR is a new development at X-Laboratory measuring unknown objects accurately. Both Systems deliver survey-grade and real-time data to our Clients and come with an intuitive to use user interface. Always wanted to automate survey? Our product is ready for your use!
The X-Control Survey System Software Suite can be used for performance analysis, post-piling reporting to clients and for improvement of survey awareness during the operational processes.
Mobilization started for first construction of 107 piles in summer 2023.