WO2010062188A1 - A marine transport system and method for using same - Google Patents

A marine transport system and method for using same Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2010062188A1
WO2010062188A1 PCT/NO2009/000407 NO2009000407W WO2010062188A1 WO 2010062188 A1 WO2010062188 A1 WO 2010062188A1 NO 2009000407 W NO2009000407 W NO 2009000407W WO 2010062188 A1 WO2010062188 A1 WO 2010062188A1
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
ship
subsea
deck
winches
jacket
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/NO2009/000407
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Ivan Ostvik
Trygve Arnesen
Original Assignee
Norwind As
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Application filed by Norwind As filed Critical Norwind As
Publication of WO2010062188A1 publication Critical patent/WO2010062188A1/en

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Classifications

    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B63SHIPS OR OTHER WATERBORNE VESSELS; RELATED EQUIPMENT
    • B63BSHIPS OR OTHER WATERBORNE VESSELS; EQUIPMENT FOR SHIPPING 
    • B63B35/00Vessels or similar floating structures specially adapted for specific purposes and not otherwise provided for
    • B63B35/003Vessels or similar floating structures specially adapted for specific purposes and not otherwise provided for for transporting very large loads, e.g. offshore structure modules
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02EREDUCTION OF GREENHOUSE GAS [GHG] EMISSIONS, RELATED TO ENERGY GENERATION, TRANSMISSION OR DISTRIBUTION
    • Y02E10/00Energy generation through renewable energy sources
    • Y02E10/70Wind energy
    • Y02E10/727Offshore wind turbines

Definitions

  • the present invention relates to marine transport systems, for transporting and installing subsea components below a seawater level, and more specific for transporting and installing subsea components at a seabed.
  • the present invention also concerns methods of employing aforesaid marine transport system, for example to methods of transporting and installing said subsea components.
  • subsea component is intended to mean subsea structures such as framework foundations or jackets for offshore wind turbines, or other structures that are to be deployed and lowered onto a seabed, for example tidal power installations and oil & gas related subsea installations.
  • a major challenge is suitable weather conditions for installing the subsea components, namely conditions of reduced wave height, limitations given by current and reduced ambient wind speed.
  • Another challenge, which the present invention seeks to reduce, is to ease the logistics operation when installing subsea foundation components.
  • the present invention is concerned with a vessel for conducting all logistics operations for the installation of subsea components, thereby avoiding the use of other vessels and any offshore transfers between vessels.
  • US-20040262926 discloses a vessel for transporting and deploying several complete wind turbines at a sea position.
  • Each wind turbine includes a plurality of ballast tanks, wherein the wind turbines are moved by floating them one by one, and assisted by an equally moving supporting arm alongside the vessel, into a deployment position at a rear end (namely the stern) of the vessel.
  • the vessel has winches in fixed positions at the stern with several flexible lines that can be connected to a plurality of lifting points on the wind turbine base, and then the wind turbine is further ballasted and is deployed in a controlled manner by the winches on to the sea bed for installation using the winches and flexible lines to manoeuvre the wind turbine base.
  • the present invention seeks to provide a construction for installing a subsea component, for example, of at least a portion (the jacket foundation) of a wind turbine and which is not based on ballasting technology for moving or/and installing the structure.
  • the marine transport system for transporting and installing a subsea component on an offshore deployment location is defined in the following claims 1-10.
  • the methods of the invention are defined in the following claims 11-17.
  • the present invention seeks to provide a method of installing a subsea component in an offshore environment which is less influenced by weather conditions and is to be implemented at a reduced cost and where the subsea component shall be installed in a shorter time period per unit than the current installation methods allow for.
  • a marine transport system as defined in appended claim 1, i.e. a system for transporting one or more subsea components to an offshore deployment location, characterized in that:
  • said system is implemented as a ship having an elongate hull defining an elongate X-X axis for the ship,
  • said ship further including a deck for retaining the one or more subsea components substantially along a middle region of the hull and being provided with a hoist arrangement for moving said one or more subsea components substantially along said elongate axis, and
  • said hoist arrangement is provided being operable to lift, transport and manipulate the one or more components for subsea deployment in at least one position along said elongate axis of the ship, wherein said hoist arrangement is operable to maintain said one or more components aligned to said elongate axis X-X.
  • the invention is of advantage in that the marine transport system is capable of operating in more adverse weather conditions for deploying the one or more subsea components.
  • a further benefit provided by the invention is that subsea component, such as wind turbine foundations or jackets, are manoeuvred and installed without a need to fill and empty ballast tanks, which makes it possible to achieve more rapid installation.
  • a further benefit provided by the invention is that use of the individually operated, or operated in coordinated manner, winches for manipulating the subsea components avoids a need to employ cranes like gantry cranes which would otherwise result in the vessel having a high centre of gravity which would adversely affect its stability.
  • the marine transport system is adapted for lifting and manipulating the one or more subsea components implemented as one or more foundations (jackets) for use with offshore wind turbines.
  • the hoist arrangement is implemented as a system consisting of four hydraulic winches with active and passive heave compensation. Such heave compensation assists to enable the vessel to operate during higher ocean wave amplitudes, meaning that the effective operational time is increased.
  • the marine transport system includes a guide arrangement for assisting guiding the one or more subsea components when being lowered towards a seabed by the hoist arrangement.
  • a marine transport system for transporting a subsea components to an offshore deployment location, said system being implemented as a ship having an elongate hull defining an elongate axis for the ship, said method including:
  • the invention relates to a method of deploying offshore wind turbine foundations as disclosed in claims 15-17.
  • the hoist arrangement is implemented as a system consisting of four hydraulic winches with active and passive heave compensation.
  • the winches when implementing the method are adapted to operate both independently of each other, and also in a cooperative manner in order to perform or operate with active or passive heave compensation for controlling and maintaining the subsea component in a spatial constant position when lowering and positioning said subsea component from the stern pool area to its predetermined offshore location on the sea bed.
  • the one or more subsea components will be deployed at an offshore deployment location on a sea bed, said components being stored for sea transport on the deck region of a ship, and the ship is manoeuvred using the dynamic positioning system so that its deployment section at a stern pool region is vertically aligned above the predetermined offshore location on the seabed, wherein in further consecutive steps, a plurality of winches are moved along rails on both sides of the deck on the ship, and into correct position adjacent to corners of the first subsea component (being e.g. a jacket for a wind turbine foundation) in the row on the ship deck, and the wires of the four winches are connected to the four respective legs of the subsea component (e.g.
  • the subsea component suspending in the four winch wires is moved horisontally along the deck along the elongate axis of the ship and into the deployment section (stern pool area) where the subsea component is suspended in the correct position above sea level, and then the winches lowers the subsea component into the sea and eventually onto the predetermined seabed location where the subsea component is then subsequently secured to the seabed through the use of the pre-installed pile technology, or the subsea component is landed on the sea floor and secured to sea floor by use of steel piles hammered into the soil through traditionally jacket pile sleeves, and then in a further step, the ship then moves to a neighbouring site and repeats the previous steps, beneficially until all of the one or more subsea components onboard the vessel have
  • the method is adapted for lifting and manipulating the one or more subsea components implemented e.g. as one or more jackets for use with offshore wind turbines.
  • FIG 1 is an illustration of a ship on which a row of three wind turbine foundations are maintained on its deck section, and prepared for transporting and installing in turbines in offshore environments;
  • FIG 2 is an illustration similar to FIG 1, but where the first foundation in the row has been is moved into its deployment position at the stern of the a ship;
  • FIG. 3 is a view of an enlarged cut out portion of the stern of the ship, and the four winches manipulating the jacket suspending in their respective wires;
  • FIG. 4 is a further enlarged view of one of the winches in the winch set, the wire of which being connected to one corner of the j acket being manipulated;
  • FIG. 5 is a plan view of the suspended jacket and being turned horizontally about a vertical axis;
  • FIG 6 is a side view of the jacket anchored to the sea bed, and the further components of a wind turbine tower, its nacelle and its rotor assembly.
  • an underlined number is employed to represent an item over which the underlined number is positioned or an item to which the underlined number is adjacent.
  • a non-underlined number relates to an item identified by a line linking the non- underlined number to the item.
  • the non-underlined number is used to identify a general item at which the arrow is pointing.
  • the present invention seeks to provide an effective ship concept for transporting and installing subsea components in form of e.g. jacket foundations for offshore wind turbines. Moreover, the present invention seeks to utilize robust and reliable technology which is susceptible to withstanding harsh environments encountered in offshore environments in diverse weather conditions. Thus, the present invention seeks to reduce vulnerability of the ship concept to weather conditions up to a defined wave heights, for example up to significant wave heights (Hs) approaching 2.5 metres or more.
  • Hs wave heights
  • a ship indicated generally by 10 the ship is also referred to as being a vessel.
  • the ship 10 comprise a hull 20, and in substantially a central portion of the hull 20, there is provided a deck 30 with side walls 22a, 22b for accommodating one or more jackets 40 simultaneously, for example three jackets 40a,40b,40c as illustrated.
  • the jackets 40 are preferably arranged in a row at the deck 30 along an elongate axis of the hull 20 when the ship 10 is in operation installing the one or more jackets 40.
  • the jackets 40 are positioned and rest safely with their base sections 42 at a floor area of the deck 30 between the side walls 22a, 22b of the ship 10.
  • a deployment section 52 for example implemented as a stern pool, which is defined by the ships wall sections 22a, 22b extending beyond the normal rear end of the ship 10 defining to projecting arms.
  • the jackets 40 are transferred one by one along the deck 30 and backwards to the deployment section 52, namely as illustrated in Figure 2.
  • the jackets 40 are lowered into the sea for positioning and installing/anchoring at correspondingly pre-f ⁇ tted mounting arrangement, shown in general by reference numeral 60.
  • the structure of such mounting arrangements (known as grillage and seafastening) is well known technology and is not disclosed in more detail here.
  • the jackets 40 and their associated deployment are manipulated by means of a hoist arrangement 60 including four hydraulic winches shown at 60a, 60b, 60c, 6Od that individually are capable of operating over the length of the ship 10 as well as in the pool stern area 52, namely also along the deck 30 at the rear end of the ship 10; optionally, as aforementioned, the deck can be implemented at a front of the ship 10.
  • a hoist arrangement 60 including four hydraulic winches shown at 60a, 60b, 60c, 6Od that individually are capable of operating over the length of the ship 10 as well as in the pool stern area 52, namely also along the deck 30 at the rear end of the ship 10; optionally, as aforementioned, the deck can be implemented at a front of the ship 10.
  • the winches 60 are operable to lift a jacket 40 aligned along the elongate axis to clear the hull 20, to transport the jacket 40 along the deck 30 of the vessel 10 and into the pool stern area 52 at the rear (or front) end area of the ship 10, and then lower it whilst still maintaining the jacket 40 along the elongate axis.
  • the jackets 40 are handled by connecting hoisting wire 70, see FIG.3 and FIG. 4, of each winch 60 to a base section 42 (shown at 43) of the jacket 40 to be deployed, preferably to the corner base section leg 42 of each jacket 40.
  • a plurality of winches 60 are mounted on each side wall 22a, 22b to manipulate the jackets 40.
  • two winches 60 are operating on top of each of the side walls 22a and 22b, and are best illustrated in FIG. 3 and FIG. 4.
  • the wire 70 from each of these winches 60 is connected to its respective corner leg 42.
  • Each winch 60 is individually movable along upper 62 and lower 64 guide rail structures arranged along their respective wall 22 on each side of the deck 30.
  • the winch 60 includes a housing accommodating driving means for moving the winch 60 along its guide rail structure, and a winch drive motor to operate the hoisting wire 70 running off and onto a wire drum (not shown) over a free rotating pulley 66, the end of the wire 70 being fastened to a base leg 42 on the jacket as shown in FIG. 3.
  • the winch 60 comprises a frame work structure 63 between its upper rail wheels in order to stabilize the winch 60 when lifting and moving a load such as a jacket structure 40 of a weight of e.g. up to 800 metric tonnes.
  • a load such as a jacket structure 40 of a weight of e.g. up to 800 metric tonnes.
  • Such lifting is achieved without a need to use large cranes and similar equipment which would cause the ship 10 to exhibit a high centre of gravity which would adversely influence stability of the ship 10, especially in conditions of considerable wave swell.
  • each winch 60 comprises a boom 67.
  • One end of the boom 67 is connected to a lower section of the frame work 63, while the pulley 66 is rotatable mounted on the outer end of the boom 67.
  • the boom 67 is arranged to pivot around a horizontal axis by means of a driving means (not shown).
  • the boom 67 includes an arm which is arranged to pivot to and from the winch 60 structure, and similarly the corner of the jacket 40 structure may move horisontally to and from.
  • each winch 60 unit i.e. for moving the winch 60 along the guide rail, for operating the winch 60 itself and for pivoting the hoisting boom, are remotely operated as a coordinated 4-winch system, as well as having the possibility to operate the winches independently of each other, by the operations centre onboard the vessel 10.
  • the four winches 60 can be operated mutually independently and/or in a cooperative manner for handling the subsea components.
  • all of the winches 60 may mutually independently be manoeuvred, they may also be cooperated with regard to both active and passive heave compensation.
  • FIG. 5 is a plan view of the suspended jacket and being turned horizontally about a vertical axis.
  • the winches 60a, 60b, 60c, 6Od are operable to hold and manipulate the foundation 40. Heave compensation involves using appropriate feedback loop ensuring that the motors of winches 60a, 60b, 60c, 6Od provide rapid reel-in and reel-out the lengths of their respective cables so as to maintain the foundation at a substantially constant angular relationship to a vertical or horizontal axis.
  • the vessel when lowering the foundation 40 during installation into an offshore deployment site, the vessel experiences a rapid transition from the foundation 40 potentially swinging above water level with active heave compensation being utilized, to the foundation 40 being in or under water when an effective centre of gravity of the vessel and its at least partially submerged foundation 40 hanging is much lower.
  • parameters defining the heave compensation feedback loop are modified in response to the foundation 40 being progressively lowered down onto the seabed.
  • the operator may to some degree rotate the jacket 40 horizontally around a vertical axis as shown in FIG. 5, something which is included in the said heave compensation modus mentioned above also.
  • the jacket 40 is suspended by the hoisting wires 70 of each of winches 60a, 60b, 60c, 6Od, respectively.
  • the two diagonally opposed hoisting boom arms 67b and 67d are both in a substantial vertical position, while the two other hoisting boom arms 67a and 67c are pivoted outward from the vertical position.
  • the jacket 40a is pivoted to an extent allowed by the width of the two extending hull wall arms 51, similar to the illustrated angle ⁇ in FIG. 5.
  • the operator is able to adjust the precise positioning onto the predetermined jacket location 500 on the sea bed.
  • the jacket may be turn horizontally at an angle ⁇ of about 20° (degrees).
  • the jacket 40a to be deployed when the jacket 40a to be deployed has arrived at the deployment station 52, the jacket 40a is lowered into the sea by the coordinated operation of the winches 60, and eventually anchored onto the pre-installed piles 61 or a predetermined jacket location where piles will be driven through pile sleeves on the jacket after installing the jacket itself.
  • the jacket 40a is then subsequently secured to its foundations by grouting technology or placed on the sea floor and then secured by use of steel piles hammered into the soil through traditionally jacket piling sleeves.
  • the jacket 40 is mounted upon at its lower end onto its pre-installed piles 61 and the predetermined jacket location 500.
  • a wind turbine tower and nacelle 510 and its rotor assembly 520 are subsequently mounted to the jacket 40.
  • the ship 10 is in harbour and one or more jackets 40 are lifted onto and secured for transport at the deck 30; in the drawings, three jackets 40 are illustrated, although the invention can be used to install fewer or more such jackets 40 if required.
  • the ship 10 then sails to an offshore site whereat the one or more jackets 40 are to be installed.
  • the ship 10 is manoeuvred using the dynamic positioning system so that its deployment section (pool stern area) 52 is vertically aligned above the preinstalled piles 61 or the predetermined jacket location 500 on the seabed.
  • the four winches 60 are moved along the rail into correct position adjacent the four corners of the first jacket 40a in the row.
  • the wires of the four winches 60 are connected to its respective jacket 40 leg 42.
  • the whole jacket structure is lifted by the winches, so that the legs are off the deck 30.
  • the jacket suspending in the four winch wires 70 is moved horizontally along the deck 30 along the elongate axis of the ship and into the pool stern area 52 where the jacket is suspended above the sea level.
  • the winches 60 of the hoist arrangement then lower the jacket 40a, into the sea and eventually onto the preinstalled piles 61 or the predetermined jacket location 500.
  • the jacket 40 is then subsequently secured to its foundations using grouting technology or placed on the sea floor and then secured by use of steel piles hammered into the soil through traditionally jacket piling sleeves.
  • the ship 10 then moves to a neighbouring site and then repeats the third and fourth steps, beneficially until all of the one or more jackets 40 have been installed
  • the jacket 40a is mounted upon at its lower end 42 onto its preinstalled piles 61 or the predetermined jacket location 500. Moreover, a wind turbine tower and nacelle 510 and its rotor assembly 520 are subsequently mounted to the jacket 40. Unlike aforementioned known systems for transporting substantially complete wind turbines for installation in offshore environments, the present invention is primarily focused at installation of the one or more jackets 40 onto their corresponding preinstalled piles or the predetermined jacket location 500.
  • the winches 60 are provided with active or passive heave compensation. Such compensation is beneficial for maintaining the jackets 40 in a spatial constant vertical position when suspended on the wires 70 from the winches 60 when the hull of the ship 10 moves in response to wave swell motions.
  • the ship 10 is implemented to include at least two hulls in a catamaran-type configuration, wherein each hull of the configuration has an associated elongate axis, and the aforesaid elongate axis and the deck 30 are disposed between the at least two hulls of the configuration.
  • the dynamic position system will ensure that the ship 10 keeps its position at the offshore deployment location within a satisfactorily boundary.
  • the dimensions of the hull 20 that will be suitable for implementing the present invention has a length in a range of 100 to 300 metres, and more preferably in a range of 150 to 200 metres, and most preferably a length of substantially 190 metres.
  • the hull 20 may have a width W in a range of 30 to 60 metres, and more preferably substantially 40 metres.

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  • Engineering & Computer Science (AREA)
  • Transportation (AREA)
  • Chemical & Material Sciences (AREA)
  • Combustion & Propulsion (AREA)
  • Mechanical Engineering (AREA)
  • Ocean & Marine Engineering (AREA)
  • Wind Motors (AREA)

Abstract

A marine transport system (10) for transporting one or more subsea components (40) to an offshore deployment location is described, characterized in that said system (10) is implemented as a ship (10) having an elongate hull (20) defining an elongate X-X axis for the ship (10), said ship (10) further including a deck (30) provided with a hoist arrangement (60) for retaining the one or more subsea components (40) substantially along a middle region of the hull (20) and for moving said one or more subsea components (40) substantially along said elongate axis, and said hoist arrangement (60) is provided being operable to lift, transport and manipulate the one or more components (40) for subsea deployment at the pool stern area (52), wherein said hoist arrangement (60) is operable to maintain said one or more components (40) aligned to said elongate axis X-X. Preferably the hoist arrangement includes a plurality of winches (60a, 60b, 60c, 60d) that are arranged to be individually manoeuvred or operated in a cooperative manner as a system, to perform active or passive heave compensation, such as by rapidly adjust the lengths of respective suspending wires constant position when lowering said jacket from the stern pool area (52) to its predetermined offshore location (500) on the sea bed. Methods of operating a marine transport system (10) for transporting a subsea components (40) and offshore wind turbine foundations to an offshore deployment location, respectively, are also disclosed.

Description

A MARINE TRANSPORT SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR USING SAME.
Field of the invention
The present invention relates to marine transport systems, for transporting and installing subsea components below a seawater level, and more specific for transporting and installing subsea components at a seabed.
Moreover, the present invention also concerns methods of employing aforesaid marine transport system, for example to methods of transporting and installing said subsea components.
In general the term subsea component is intended to mean subsea structures such as framework foundations or jackets for offshore wind turbines, or other structures that are to be deployed and lowered onto a seabed, for example tidal power installations and oil & gas related subsea installations.
Background of the invention
Offshore deployment of subsea components, in particular wind turbines components creates many technical challenges which add to implementation cost, and hence ultimately in the cost of electricity generated by components of offshore wind turbines. A major challenge is suitable weather conditions for installing the subsea components, namely conditions of reduced wave height, limitations given by current and reduced ambient wind speed. Another challenge, which the present invention seeks to reduce, is to ease the logistics operation when installing subsea foundation components. The present invention is concerned with a vessel for conducting all logistics operations for the installation of subsea components, thereby avoiding the use of other vessels and any offshore transfers between vessels.
In the context of the present invention, reference is made to earlier following patent documents: US-20040262926, EP-1.265.017, GB-2022521, GB 21115 and US-1.710.625. The first mentioned US patent application 20040262926 discloses a vessel for transporting and deploying several complete wind turbines at a sea position. Each wind turbine includes a plurality of ballast tanks, wherein the wind turbines are moved by floating them one by one, and assisted by an equally moving supporting arm alongside the vessel, into a deployment position at a rear end (namely the stern) of the vessel. The vessel has winches in fixed positions at the stern with several flexible lines that can be connected to a plurality of lifting points on the wind turbine base, and then the wind turbine is further ballasted and is deployed in a controlled manner by the winches on to the sea bed for installation using the winches and flexible lines to manoeuvre the wind turbine base.
Summary of the invention
The present invention seeks to provide a construction for installing a subsea component, for example, of at least a portion (the jacket foundation) of a wind turbine and which is not based on ballasting technology for moving or/and installing the structure. The marine transport system for transporting and installing a subsea component on an offshore deployment location, is defined in the following claims 1-10. The methods of the invention are defined in the following claims 11-17.
The invention
The present invention seeks to provide a method of installing a subsea component in an offshore environment which is less influenced by weather conditions and is to be implemented at a reduced cost and where the subsea component shall be installed in a shorter time period per unit than the current installation methods allow for. A FIRST ASPECT OF THE INVENTION
According to a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided a marine transport system as defined in appended claim 1, i.e. a system for transporting one or more subsea components to an offshore deployment location, characterized in that:
said system is implemented as a ship having an elongate hull defining an elongate X-X axis for the ship,
said ship further including a deck for retaining the one or more subsea components substantially along a middle region of the hull and being provided with a hoist arrangement for moving said one or more subsea components substantially along said elongate axis, and
said hoist arrangement is provided being operable to lift, transport and manipulate the one or more components for subsea deployment in at least one position along said elongate axis of the ship, wherein said hoist arrangement is operable to maintain said one or more components aligned to said elongate axis X-X.
The preferred embodiments of the marine transport system of the invention appear in the appended dependent claims 2-10.
The invention is of advantage in that the marine transport system is capable of operating in more adverse weather conditions for deploying the one or more subsea components.
A further benefit provided by the invention is that subsea component, such as wind turbine foundations or jackets, are manoeuvred and installed without a need to fill and empty ballast tanks, which makes it possible to achieve more rapid installation.
A further benefit provided by the invention is that use of the individually operated, or operated in coordinated manner, winches for manipulating the subsea components avoids a need to employ cranes like gantry cranes which would otherwise result in the vessel having a high centre of gravity which would adversely affect its stability. The marine transport system is adapted for lifting and manipulating the one or more subsea components implemented as one or more foundations (jackets) for use with offshore wind turbines.
In the marine transport system, the hoist arrangement is implemented as a system consisting of four hydraulic winches with active and passive heave compensation. Such heave compensation assists to enable the vessel to operate during higher ocean wave amplitudes, meaning that the effective operational time is increased.
Optionally, the marine transport system includes a guide arrangement for assisting guiding the one or more subsea components when being lowered towards a seabed by the hoist arrangement.
A second aspect of the invention
According to a second aspect of the invention as defined in appended claim 11, there is provided a method of operating a marine transport system for transporting a subsea components to an offshore deployment location, said system being implemented as a ship having an elongate hull defining an elongate axis for the ship, said method including:
(a) employing a transporting arrangement for transporting the subsea component retained at a deck of said ship along substantially a middle region of the hull; and
(b) moving said subsea component substantially along said elongate axis using a hoist arrangement,
(c) using said hoist arrangement to lift and manipulate said subsea component for subsea deployment at the offshore deployment location, wherein said hoist arrangement is operable to maintain said subsea component aligned to said elongate axis.
The preferred embodiments of the transport and installation method of the invention appear in the appended dependent method claims 12-14. According to a third aspect, the invention relates to a method of deploying offshore wind turbine foundations as disclosed in claims 15-17.
More optionally, the hoist arrangement is implemented as a system consisting of four hydraulic winches with active and passive heave compensation.
According to a preferred embodiment, when implementing the method the winches are adapted to operate both independently of each other, and also in a cooperative manner in order to perform or operate with active or passive heave compensation for controlling and maintaining the subsea component in a spatial constant position when lowering and positioning said subsea component from the stern pool area to its predetermined offshore location on the sea bed.
According to a preferred method the one or more subsea components will be deployed at an offshore deployment location on a sea bed, said components being stored for sea transport on the deck region of a ship, and the ship is manoeuvred using the dynamic positioning system so that its deployment section at a stern pool region is vertically aligned above the predetermined offshore location on the seabed, wherein in further consecutive steps, a plurality of winches are moved along rails on both sides of the deck on the ship, and into correct position adjacent to corners of the first subsea component (being e.g. a jacket for a wind turbine foundation) in the row on the ship deck, and the wires of the four winches are connected to the four respective legs of the subsea component (e.g. a jacket foundation), and then the subsea component is lifted by the winches, so that the legs are clear off the secured transport position (whereas this position is secured with traditional grillage and seafastening of the component) on the ship deck, then the subsea component suspending in the four winch wires is moved horisontally along the deck along the elongate axis of the ship and into the deployment section (stern pool area) where the subsea component is suspended in the correct position above sea level, and then the winches lowers the subsea component into the sea and eventually onto the predetermined seabed location where the subsea component is then subsequently secured to the seabed through the use of the pre-installed pile technology, or the subsea component is landed on the sea floor and secured to sea floor by use of steel piles hammered into the soil through traditionally jacket pile sleeves, and then in a further step, the ship then moves to a neighbouring site and repeats the previous steps, beneficially until all of the one or more subsea components onboard the vessel have been installed at their predetermined offshore deployment location.
According to a preferred application, the method is adapted for lifting and manipulating the one or more subsea components implemented e.g. as one or more jackets for use with offshore wind turbines.
It will be appreciated that features of the invention are susceptible to being combined in any combination without departing from the scope of the invention.
Description of the diagrams Embodiments of the present invention will now be described, by way of example only, relating to one or more foundation jackets for use with offshore wind turbines, and with reference to the following diagrams wherein:
FIG 1 is an illustration of a ship on which a row of three wind turbine foundations are maintained on its deck section, and prepared for transporting and installing in turbines in offshore environments;
FIG 2 is an illustration similar to FIG 1, but where the first foundation in the row has been is moved into its deployment position at the stern of the a ship;
FIG. 3 is a view of an enlarged cut out portion of the stern of the ship, and the four winches manipulating the jacket suspending in their respective wires;
FIG. 4 is a further enlarged view of one of the winches in the winch set, the wire of which being connected to one corner of the j acket being manipulated; FIG. 5 is a plan view of the suspended jacket and being turned horizontally about a vertical axis; and
FIG 6 is a side view of the jacket anchored to the sea bed, and the further components of a wind turbine tower, its nacelle and its rotor assembly.
In the accompanying diagrams, an underlined number is employed to represent an item over which the underlined number is positioned or an item to which the underlined number is adjacent. A non-underlined number relates to an item identified by a line linking the non- underlined number to the item. When a number is non-underlined and accompanied by an associated arrow, the non-underlined number is used to identify a general item at which the arrow is pointing.
Description of embodiments of the invention The present invention seeks to provide an effective ship concept for transporting and installing subsea components in form of e.g. jacket foundations for offshore wind turbines. Moreover, the present invention seeks to utilize robust and reliable technology which is susceptible to withstanding harsh environments encountered in offshore environments in diverse weather conditions. Thus, the present invention seeks to reduce vulnerability of the ship concept to weather conditions up to a defined wave heights, for example up to significant wave heights (Hs) approaching 2.5 metres or more.
Referring to Figure 1, there is shown a ship indicated generally by 10; the ship is also referred to as being a vessel. The ship 10 comprise a hull 20, and in substantially a central portion of the hull 20, there is provided a deck 30 with side walls 22a, 22b for accommodating one or more jackets 40 simultaneously, for example three jackets 40a,40b,40c as illustrated. The jackets 40 are preferably arranged in a row at the deck 30 along an elongate axis of the hull 20 when the ship 10 is in operation installing the one or more jackets 40. The jackets 40 are positioned and rest safely with their base sections 42 at a floor area of the deck 30 between the side walls 22a, 22b of the ship 10. At the rear end area 50 section of the ship 10, alternatively at a front end area of the ship 10, there is included a deployment section 52 for example implemented as a stern pool, which is defined by the ships wall sections 22a, 22b extending beyond the normal rear end of the ship 10 defining to projecting arms. Thus there is free access downwards to the sea bed between said arms. On deployment, the jackets 40 are transferred one by one along the deck 30 and backwards to the deployment section 52, namely as illustrated in Figure 2. From the deployment section 52, the jackets 40 are lowered into the sea for positioning and installing/anchoring at correspondingly pre-fϊtted mounting arrangement, shown in general by reference numeral 60. The structure of such mounting arrangements (known as grillage and seafastening) is well known technology and is not disclosed in more detail here.
According to this embodiment of the invention illustrated in Figures 1 and 2, the jackets 40 and their associated deployment are manipulated by means of a hoist arrangement 60 including four hydraulic winches shown at 60a, 60b, 60c, 6Od that individually are capable of operating over the length of the ship 10 as well as in the pool stern area 52, namely also along the deck 30 at the rear end of the ship 10; optionally, as aforementioned, the deck can be implemented at a front of the ship 10. The winches 60 are operable to lift a jacket 40 aligned along the elongate axis to clear the hull 20, to transport the jacket 40 along the deck 30 of the vessel 10 and into the pool stern area 52 at the rear (or front) end area of the ship 10, and then lower it whilst still maintaining the jacket 40 along the elongate axis.
The jackets 40 are handled by connecting hoisting wire 70, see FIG.3 and FIG. 4, of each winch 60 to a base section 42 (shown at 43) of the jacket 40 to be deployed, preferably to the corner base section leg 42 of each jacket 40.
A plurality of winches 60 are mounted on each side wall 22a, 22b to manipulate the jackets 40. In the present embodiment two winches 60 are operating on top of each of the side walls 22a and 22b, and are best illustrated in FIG. 3 and FIG. 4. The wire 70 from each of these winches 60 is connected to its respective corner leg 42.
Each winch 60 is individually movable along upper 62 and lower 64 guide rail structures arranged along their respective wall 22 on each side of the deck 30. The winch 60 includes a housing accommodating driving means for moving the winch 60 along its guide rail structure, and a winch drive motor to operate the hoisting wire 70 running off and onto a wire drum (not shown) over a free rotating pulley 66, the end of the wire 70 being fastened to a base leg 42 on the jacket as shown in FIG. 3.
Furthermore, the winch 60 comprises a frame work structure 63 between its upper rail wheels in order to stabilize the winch 60 when lifting and moving a load such as a jacket structure 40 of a weight of e.g. up to 800 metric tonnes. Such lifting is achieved without a need to use large cranes and similar equipment which would cause the ship 10 to exhibit a high centre of gravity which would adversely influence stability of the ship 10, especially in conditions of considerable wave swell.
According to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, each winch 60 comprises a boom 67. One end of the boom 67 is connected to a lower section of the frame work 63, while the pulley 66 is rotatable mounted on the outer end of the boom 67. The boom 67 is arranged to pivot around a horizontal axis by means of a driving means (not shown). As illustrated in FIG. 3, the boom 67 includes an arm which is arranged to pivot to and from the winch 60 structure, and similarly the corner of the jacket 40 structure may move horisontally to and from.
All the three driving means of each winch 60 unit, i.e. for moving the winch 60 along the guide rail, for operating the winch 60 itself and for pivoting the hoisting boom, are remotely operated as a coordinated 4-winch system, as well as having the possibility to operate the winches independently of each other, by the operations centre onboard the vessel 10. In consequence, the four winches 60 can be operated mutually independently and/or in a cooperative manner for handling the subsea components. In addition to the fact that all of the winches 60 may mutually independently be manoeuvred, they may also be cooperated with regard to both active and passive heave compensation.
In this regard reference is made to FIG. 5 which is a plan view of the suspended jacket and being turned horizontally about a vertical axis. The winches 60a, 60b, 60c, 6Od are operable to hold and manipulate the foundation 40. Heave compensation involves using appropriate feedback loop ensuring that the motors of winches 60a, 60b, 60c, 6Od provide rapid reel-in and reel-out the lengths of their respective cables so as to maintain the foundation at a substantially constant angular relationship to a vertical or horizontal axis.
Thus, when lowering the foundation 40 during installation into an offshore deployment site, the vessel experiences a rapid transition from the foundation 40 potentially swinging above water level with active heave compensation being utilized, to the foundation 40 being in or under water when an effective centre of gravity of the vessel and its at least partially submerged foundation 40 hanging is much lower. In order to avoid any tendencies of the heave compensation feedback loop to exhibit instabilities in its control, for example any tendency to cause spurious oscillations in the heave compensation, parameters defining the heave compensation feedback loop are modified in response to the foundation 40 being progressively lowered down onto the seabed. By such an approach, abrupt changes at thresholds in the height of the foundation 40 in respect of sea level can be avoided, namely by adjusting control parameters of the heave feedback compensation loop gradually and progressively as the foundation 40 is lowered in the ocean during installation operations.
According to a favourable property of the winch 60 system, the operator may to some degree rotate the jacket 40 horizontally around a vertical axis as shown in FIG. 5, something which is included in the said heave compensation modus mentioned above also. The jacket 40 is suspended by the hoisting wires 70 of each of winches 60a, 60b, 60c, 6Od, respectively. The two diagonally opposed hoisting boom arms 67b and 67d are both in a substantial vertical position, while the two other hoisting boom arms 67a and 67c are pivoted outward from the vertical position. Thus, the jacket 40a is pivoted to an extent allowed by the width of the two extending hull wall arms 51, similar to the illustrated angle α in FIG. 5. In this manner, the operator is able to adjust the precise positioning onto the predetermined jacket location 500 on the sea bed. In the example illustrated on figure 5, the jacket may be turn horizontally at an angle α of about 20° (degrees).
As shown in FIG.s 2, 3 and 4, when the jacket 40a to be deployed has arrived at the deployment station 52, the jacket 40a is lowered into the sea by the coordinated operation of the winches 60, and eventually anchored onto the pre-installed piles 61 or a predetermined jacket location where piles will be driven through pile sleeves on the jacket after installing the jacket itself. The jacket 40a is then subsequently secured to its foundations by grouting technology or placed on the sea floor and then secured by use of steel piles hammered into the soil through traditionally jacket piling sleeves. Referring to FIG 6, the jacket 40 is mounted upon at its lower end onto its pre-installed piles 61 and the predetermined jacket location 500. Moreover, a wind turbine tower and nacelle 510 and its rotor assembly 520 are subsequently mounted to the jacket 40.
Installing jackets
Operation of the ship 10 will now be described with reference to the figures, namely a method of installing one or more jackets 40 using the ship 10 will be elucidated.
In a first step, the ship 10 is in harbour and one or more jackets 40 are lifted onto and secured for transport at the deck 30; in the drawings, three jackets 40 are illustrated, although the invention can be used to install fewer or more such jackets 40 if required.
In a second step, the ship 10 then sails to an offshore site whereat the one or more jackets 40 are to be installed.
In a third step, the ship 10 is manoeuvred using the dynamic positioning system so that its deployment section (pool stern area) 52 is vertically aligned above the preinstalled piles 61 or the predetermined jacket location 500 on the seabed.
In a fourth step, the four winches 60 are moved along the rail into correct position adjacent the four corners of the first jacket 40a in the row. The wires of the four winches 60 are connected to its respective jacket 40 leg 42. Then the whole jacket structure is lifted by the winches, so that the legs are off the deck 30. Then the jacket suspending in the four winch wires 70 is moved horizontally along the deck 30 along the elongate axis of the ship and into the pool stern area 52 where the jacket is suspended above the sea level.
The winches 60 of the hoist arrangement then lower the jacket 40a, into the sea and eventually onto the preinstalled piles 61 or the predetermined jacket location 500. The jacket 40 is then subsequently secured to its foundations using grouting technology or placed on the sea floor and then secured by use of steel piles hammered into the soil through traditionally jacket piling sleeves. In a fifth step, the ship 10 then moves to a neighbouring site and then repeats the third and fourth steps, beneficially until all of the one or more jackets 40 have been installed
Referring to FIG. 6, the jacket 40a is mounted upon at its lower end 42 onto its preinstalled piles 61 or the predetermined jacket location 500. Moreover, a wind turbine tower and nacelle 510 and its rotor assembly 520 are subsequently mounted to the jacket 40. Unlike aforementioned known systems for transporting substantially complete wind turbines for installation in offshore environments, the present invention is primarily focused at installation of the one or more jackets 40 onto their corresponding preinstalled piles or the predetermined jacket location 500.
Although the present invention is described with reference to transporting and manipulating one or more jackets 40, it will be appreciated that the ship 10 as described in the foregoing is capable of transporting and manipulating other types of foundations, e.g. tripods and variants of either, also.
As aforementioned, the winches 60 are provided with active or passive heave compensation. Such compensation is beneficial for maintaining the jackets 40 in a spatial constant vertical position when suspended on the wires 70 from the winches 60 when the hull of the ship 10 moves in response to wave swell motions.
Modifications to embodiments of the invention described in the foregoing are possible without departing from the scope of the invention as defined by the accompanying claims.
Optionally, the ship 10 is implemented to include at least two hulls in a catamaran-type configuration, wherein each hull of the configuration has an associated elongate axis, and the aforesaid elongate axis and the deck 30 are disposed between the at least two hulls of the configuration.
By maintaining the jackets 40 substantially along the ships elongate axis whilst manoeuvring the winches 60 and their associated jackets 40, there is less tendency for the ship 10 to suffer a sideways rolling motion, thereby avoiding a need for stabilizing legs and therefore enabling the ship 10 to operate in depths of water which cannot be addressed by aforementioned known installation systems employing stabilizing legs. Moreover, the dynamic position system will ensure that the ship 10 keeps its position at the offshore deployment location within a satisfactorily boundary.
For clarity reason, in the aforementioned disclosure, the control room arrangement at a front end of the hull 20, the engines and thrusters for propelling the ship 10, for positioning and station keeping of the ship 10, known as a dynamic positioning system (DP) in an offshore environment, are not shown in the enclosed drawings.
The dimensions of the hull 20 that will be suitable for implementing the present invention has a length in a range of 100 to 300 metres, and more preferably in a range of 150 to 200 metres, and most preferably a length of substantially 190 metres. Moreover, the hull 20 may have a width W in a range of 30 to 60 metres, and more preferably substantially 40 metres.
Expressions such as "including", "comprising", "incorporating", "consisting of, "have", "is" used to describe and claim the present invention are intended to be construed in a nonexclusive manner, namely allowing for items, components or elements not explicitly described also to be present. Reference to the singular is also to be construed to relate to the plural.
Numerals included within parentheses in the accompanying claims are intended to assist understanding of the claims and should not be construed in any way to limit subject matter claimed by these claims.

Claims

P A T E N T C L A I M S
1. A marine transport system (10) for transporting one or more subsea components (40) to an offshore deployment location, characterized in that
said system (10) is implemented as a ship (10) having an elongate hull (20) defining an elongate X-X axis for the ship (10),
said ship (10) further including a deck (30) for retaining the one or more subsea components (50) substantially along a middle region of the hull (20) and being provided with a hoist arrangement (60) for moving said one or more subsea components (40) substantially along said elongate axis, and
said hoist arrangement (60) is provided being operable to lift, transport and manipulate the one or more components (40) for subsea deployment in at least one position along said elongate axis (52) of the ship, wherein said hoist arrangement (60) is operable to maintain said one or more components (40) aligned to said elongate axis X-X.
2. A marine transport system (10) as claimed in claim 1, wherein said hoist arrangement (60) comprises a plurality of winches (60a, 60b, 60c, 6Od) to lift a subsea component (40) off the ship deck (30) for guiding, transport, manipulating and deploying said component, and are capable of operating over the extent (length) of the deck (30) as well as in the deployment section (52) of the ship 10.
3. A marine transport system (10) as claimed in claim 1 or 2, wherein said winches (60a, 60b, 60c, 6Od) are arranged to be individually manoeuvred or operated in a cooperative manner, to perform active heave compensation, such as by rapidly adjust the lengths of their respective suspending wires constant position when lowering said jacket from the stern pool area (52) to its predetermined offshore location (500) on the sea bed.
4. A marine transport system (10) as claimed in any of claims 1-3, wherein each of the winches operates a wire passing over a readily turning pulley at the end of a pivotable boom arm, said wire being fastened to each of the legs of the component structure, and by pivoting said booms individually the hoist arrangement (60) is capable of turning the component on an vertical axis of an angle α, or example about 20°.
5. A marine transport system (10) as claimed in any of claims 1-4, wherein said winches (60a, 60b, 60c, 6Od) are adapted to move along guide rail structures arranged along their respective wall 22 on each side of the deck 30.
6. A marine transport system (10) as claimed in any of claims 1-5, wherein the hoist arrangement (60) includes four winches (60a, 60b, 60c, 6Od), two on each side wall (22) of the said deck (30) and stern pool area (52).
7. A marine transport system (10) as claimed in claim 1, adapted for lifting and manipulating said one or more component implemented as one or more jackets (40) for use with offshore wind turbines (510, 515, 520).
8. A marine transport system (10) as claimed in claim 1, wherein said at least one position along said elongate axis (52) of the ship for component deployment is at an end of said ship or at a pool area of the ship.
9. A marine transport system (10) as claimed in claim 8, wherein said end of said ship is a pool stern region of said ship.
10. A method of operating a marine transport system (10) for transporting a subsea components (40) to an offshore deployment location, said system (10) being implemented as a ship (10) having an elongate hull (20) defining an elongate axis (X-X, FIG. 5) for the ship (10), said method including:
(a) employing a transporting arrangement for transporting the subsea component (40) retained at a deck (30) of said ship (10) along substantially a middle region of the hull (20); and (b) moving said subsea component (40) substantially along said elongate axis (X-X, FIG. 5) using a hoist arrangement (60),
(c) using said hoist arrangement (60) to lift and manipulate said subsea component (40) for subsea deployment at the offshore deployment location, wherein said hoist arrangement
(60) is operable to maintain said subsea component (40) aligned to said elongate axis (X-X, FIG. 5).
11. A method as claimed in claim 10, wherein said hoist arrangement (60) is implemented as a system consisting of a plurality of winches (60a, 60b, 60c, 6Od) to lift said subsea component (40) off the ship deck for guiding, transport, manipulating and deploying said component, and are capable of operating over the extent (length) of the deck (30) as well as in the stern pool area (52) of the ship 10.
12. A method as claimed in any of claims 10-11, wherein said hoist arrangement (60) comprises a plurality of winches (60a, 60b, 60c, 60d) to lift said component (40) off the deck floor for guiding, transport, manipulating and deploying the component, and is capable of operating over the extent (length) of the deck (30) as well as in the stern pool area (52) of the ship 10.
13. A method as claimed in any of claims 10-12, wherein the is said winches (60a, 60b, 60c, 6Od) are individually manoeuvred to perform active heave compensation, by rapidly adjusting the lengths of their respective suspending wires constant position when lowering said subsea component (40) from the stern pool area (52) to its predetermined offshore location (500) on the sea bed.
14. A method of deploying one or more subsea components comprising offshore wind turbine foundations (40) at an offshore deployment location on a sea bed, said foundations being stored on the deck (30) of a ship (10), and the ship 10 is manoeuvred using the dynamic positioning system so that its stern pool area (52) is vertically aligned above a predetermined offshore location (500) on the seabed, wherein in further consecutive steps, a plurality of winches (60) working as a system are moved along a rail on both sides of the deck (30) on the ship (10), and into correct position adjacent the corners of the first jacket (40a) in the row stored onboard the deck (30) of the ship (10), and the wires of the four winches (60) are connected to its respective foundation/jacket (40) leg (42), then the whole jacket structure is lifted by the winches, so that the legs are clear off the deck (30), then the jacket suspending in the four winch wires (70) is translated horizontally along the deck (30) along the elongate axis of the ship and into the stern pool area (52) where the jacket is suspended in the correct position above sea level, and then the winches (60) lowers the jacket (40a), into the sea and eventually onto the predetermined offshore location (61) where jacket (40) is then subsequently secured to the seabed using the pre-installed pile technology or where piles are installed after installation of the jacket itself through pile sleeves, and then in a further step, the ship (10) then moves to a neighbouring site and repeats the previous steps, beneficially until all of the one or more jackets (40) onboard the ship have been installed at their respective offshore location.
15. A method as claimed in claim 14, wherein as the jackets (40a) are lowered to the sea bed, possible movements of the jacket are controlled by means of operating the active or passive heave compensation of the winches (60a, 60b, 60c, 6Od) for controlling and maintaining the jacket (40) in a spatial constant position.
16. A method as claimed in any of claims 14-15, by using the marine transport system as given in any of the preceding claims 1-10, and the method as given in the preceding claims 11-14.
PCT/NO2009/000407 2008-11-26 2009-11-26 A marine transport system and method for using same WO2010062188A1 (en)

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CN102107720A (en) * 2011-01-14 2011-06-29 上海交通大学 Marine fan integrated setting system
CN102616339A (en) * 2011-01-30 2012-08-01 华锐风电科技(江苏)有限公司 Transport installation ship of wind generation set and ship transport and installation method for wind generation set
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EP2641825A1 (en) * 2010-11-18 2013-09-25 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. Ship for installing offshore wind turbines, and method for installing offshore wind turbines using same
CN103693170A (en) * 2013-12-10 2014-04-02 广东明阳风电产业集团有限公司 Floating type offshore wind power assembly platform and method using floating type offshore wind power assembly platform for assembly offshore wind turbine
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GB2567218A (en) * 2017-10-06 2019-04-10 Offshore Decommissioning Services Ltd A semi submersible vessel
GB2580103A (en) * 2018-12-21 2020-07-15 Ship And Ocean Ind R & D Center Underwater pedestal synchronous sinking and posture fixing and solid release control device and method thereof

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GB2567218A (en) * 2017-10-06 2019-04-10 Offshore Decommissioning Services Ltd A semi submersible vessel
GB2567218B (en) * 2017-10-06 2020-04-15 Offshore Decommissioning Services Ltd A semi submersible vessel for manipulating offshore infrastructures
GB2580103A (en) * 2018-12-21 2020-07-15 Ship And Ocean Ind R & D Center Underwater pedestal synchronous sinking and posture fixing and solid release control device and method thereof
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