A naming ceremony for the new vessel was performed by Mrs Amélie Michel, spouse of Mr Charles Michel, President of the European Council, wishing ‘Orion’ and the crew a safe and successful career in the fleet.
‘Orion’ is equipped with a powerful, 5,000-tonne crane and is designed to handle the enormous turbines and foundations of the future. With a total installed power of 44,180 kW and at 216.5 metres long, the vessel has a large unobstructed deck and a deadweight that has been maximised so it can handle the heaviest components.
“Orion is a remarkable vessel, highlighting our marine engineering prowess and ability to pioneer so we can support our customers in all of their endeavours” said Luc Vandenbulcke, Chief Executive Officer of the DEME Group. “This vessel heralds a new era in the offshore energy industry – one which will be dominated by multi-megawatt turbines, jackets and components. The combination of unique technology, load capacity and superior lifting heights will enable ‘Orion’ to play an important role in helping the industry successfully navigate the energy transition. But above all, this special vessel shows the accomplishments of DEME’s people. Their creativity and innovative thinking led to its creation. They continually show their ability to anticipate our customers’ needs and to make sure we have the best solution ready for their projects. I would personally like to thank Mrs Michel for being ‘Orion’s’ godmother and for joining us today on this wonderful occasion, which is certainly an important milestone in our history.”
To enable the new installation vessel to handle the future generations of giant turbines and foundations, ‘Orion’ is also equipped with an integrated Motion Compensated Pile Gripper (MCPG), which has been designed by DEME’s and Huisman’s expert engineers. Coupled with the vessel’s DP3 capability, the MCPG allows the monopiles to remain vertical and stable during installation in the seabed, despite waves and motions of the vessel, and crucially, to be installed without the use of mooring anchors.
Combining these engineering technologies and ability to transport the new giant turbines, jackets and components in a single shipment, ‘Orion’ will speed up installation times dramatically, making the vessel an extremely cost-effective solution for wind farm developers.
Sustainability considerations are also a vital part of the vessel’s design. ‘Orion’ has dual fuel engines enabling it to run on LNG or alternative clean fuels, a Green Passport and Clean Design notation. Another environmental innovation is a waste heat recovery system that converts heat from the exhaust gases to electrical energy. The evaporation of LNG also cools the accommodation with a cold recovery system.
‘Orion’ will shortly set sail for its first project in Germany, where XL foundations will be installed at the Arcadis Ost 1 offshore wind farm. This will be followed by a decommissioning project in the UK. ‘Orion’ will also be deployed for the installation of 176 foundations at the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Farm in the US, one of the largest offshore wind developments in the world.
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