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Friday, October 2, 2020 

Ulstein is working on a second hydrogen hybrid design for the offshore wind industry, the Ulstein J102 zero emission wind turbine installation vessel (WTIV), which it says can operate 75% of the time in zero emission mode.

Using readily available technology, the additional cost is limited to less than 5% of the total CAPEX. Most new jack-up designs feature a battery hybrid system in addition to diesel gen sets, with a future option for hydrogen powered fuel cell system. The downside of a high-power battery energy storage system (BESS) is its heavy weight and cost. That is not beneficial for a WTIV design, where weight savings are essential for minimising Elevated Weight and optimising the Variable Deck Load. Rather than to opt for technology to be matured to perfection and make a design that is prepared for future hydrogen powered fuel cells, Ulstein has taken a pragmatic, yet realistic approach.

Ko Stroo, Product Manager, said: "We have carefully analysed the operational cycle of WTIVs and looked at the power demand in the various modes of operations. This analysis showed that ca 75% of its time, a WTIV is in jacked-up position performing crane operations. Using a combination of a hydrogen fuel cell system and a relatively small battery energy storage system is then sufficient to meet the overall power demand on board and crane peak loads.’

"The same design philosophy as on our first hydrogen powered SX190 design, resulted in a much more attractive business case when applied to a turbine installation vessel," said Edwin van Leeuwen, MD, Ulstein Rotterdam design office.

The hydrogen hybrid system of the Ulstein J102 design has been developed in such a way, that future developments in hydrogen technology can easily be fitted into the vessel without major modifications.

"The limited availability of hydrogen bunker infrastructure in ports is often seen as a major hurdle. With our modular storage lay-out, we want to break the chicken and egg dilemma. It creates flexibility to operate the vessel worldwide, even when bunker infrastructure is not yet present, " said Stroo.

Van Leeuwen said: "The strong focus on renewable energy and emission reduction to meet worldwide climate goals should also be reflected by investments in cleaner operations when installing offshore wind turbines. Hydrogen is one of the most promising zero-emission fuels for offshore vessels and we want to be leading in developing sustainable ships."

Ulstein calculations suggest that the J102 could save 4,000t of CO2 per year, with an overall emission reduction per installation cycle of 25%. The PEM fuel cell can be fuelled from seven 40ft containers of compressed H2, supplemented by battery energy storage.

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