Published 2023-04-24 00:00:00
Ulstein U-stern smart monopile installation on DP

The offshore wind industry faces significant installation challenges with the increasing size of monopile foundations. With the patent-pending ULSTEIN U-STERNTM, ship designer Ulstein Design & Solutions BV introduces a safer, smarter and more competitive solution for transporting, upending and installing large monopiles on Dynamic Positioning (DP).
The U-STERNTM enables longitudinal storage of monopiles and upending in the ship centre line. This allows the ship to head into the waves during the installation process, minimising ship motions and fuel consumption, while the U-STERNTM provides excellent shielding from the waves. Combining the U-STERNTM with transverse and longitudinal skidding systems, offshore lifts for monopiles are eliminated, as the main crane is only used to support the upending and lowering of the foundation.

The U-STERNTM looks like a simple recess in the stern. “But it is much more than that,” states Ko Stroo, Product Manager/Lead Naval Architect in Ulstein Design & Solutions BV. “The shape and location of the recess are finely tuned with CFD and motion analysis to make it work in harmony with the crane and mission equipment.”

More than two years of R&D have enhanced our understanding of how to improve the dynamics associated with DP monopile installation. This has resulted in the U-STERNTM having significant benefits over ‘traditional’ monopile installation on the side of a vessel

Increased operability due to a 25% reduction in motions, excellent wave shielding in the ‘moonbay’ and controlled upending of monopiles;
50% power reduction in DP operations due to weather vaning;
Avoiding port (and offshore) related challenges related to transverse monopile transport and upending;
Safer lifting operations offshore;

“The idea of longitudinal monopile installation originates in our vast experience in developing heavy lift pipelay vessels with a centerline firing line,” says Edwin van Leeuwen, Managing Director in Ulstein Design & Solutions BV. “The U-STERNTM is however not a ‘one-trick pony’, as the vessel is also suitable for jacket installation and other heavy lift installation work. In the past months, we have presented the U-STERNTM to major contractors and operators, many recognizing this as the most viable solution for installing the next-generation monopile foundations.”

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