Zero-Emission Hydrogen Hybrid Turbine Installation is Today’s Reality


October 2, 2020

The ULSTEIN J102 zero emission wind turbine installation vessel (WTIV) can operate in zero emission mode for 75% of the time. Most new jack-up designs feature a battery hybrid system in addition to diesel gen sets with a future option for a hydrogen-powered fuel-cell system. However, high-power battery energy storage system (BESS) is expensive and heavy in weight. This type of jack-up design is not beneficial for WTIV jack-up designs as weight savings are essential for minimizing Elevated Weight and optimizing the Variable Deck Load. 

Image: ULSTEIN J102

From hydrogen-prepared to hydrogen-powered


Instead of opting for a jack-up design that is prepared for future hydrogen-powered fuel-cells, Ulstein has taken a pragmatic, yet realistic approach. According to Ko Stroo, Product Manager at Ulstein, Ulstein ‘has carefully analyzed the operational cycle of WTIVs and looked at the power demand in the various modes of operations. This analysis has shown that ca. 75% of tis time, a WTIV is in a jacked-up position performing crane operations.


Using a combination of a hydrogen fuel-cell system and a relatively small battery energy storage system (BESS) is then sufficient to meet overall power demand on board and crane peak loads’.

Attractive business case for turbine installation vessels


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. According to Ko Stroo, ‘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.’


According to Edwin van Leeuwen, Managing Director of Ulstein Rotterdam, ‘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.’