Extreme current Jack-up
GeoSea, part of the Belgian dredging, marine engineering and environmental group DEME has announced what it calls a ‘major break-through’ in the tidal energy sector. As a specialist in complex offshore marine engineering projects, the company has successfully completed trials of a jack-up vessel in extreme current flows.
The results of the trials suggest it is time the industry reconsiders its reluctance to deploy jack-up vessels on tidal sites. The demonstrated workability and reliability create confidence for tidal project developers and open the market for all types of tidal energy applications, claims GeoSea.
GeoSea has chosen the French tidal race at Raz Blanchard as operational area, which is a renowned site for strong tidal currents and is located between Alderney (UK) and Cap de la Hague (FR). The campaign was held during the autumnal equinox of September 2015 with currents during spring peaks. GeoSea’s jack-up vessel Goliath operated in currents of up to 10 knots (approx. 5 m/s) and water depths, under the hull, of 56 meters.
The demonstrated utilisation of GeoSea’s jack-up platform under those extreme tidal conditions are the direct result and the practical implementation of a two year in-house study analysing and researching the behaviour of jack-up platforms while jacked-up in strong currents. On that basis, specific operating models as well as procedural and technical improvements have been developed that enable the use of the GeoSea’s respective jack-up platforms and vessels in strong tidal race areas.
The real life trials at Raz Blanchard validated and calibrated those models and procedures with a successful result: GeoSea’s jack-ups are able to position accurately and to operate safely in tidal sites, even in those sites that are recognised as one the most extreme and energetic with significant depths.
This is an important milestone in the tidal energy sector which will accelerate the construction of tidal turbines and all related operations such as maintenance and decommissioning. GeoSea’s practical experiences under those demonstrated extreme conditions should give confidence to developers and project owners alike to use cost effective jack-up platforms and vessels for the realisation of their tidal projects.
The Belgian dredging, marine engineering and environmental group DEME has attained a prominent position in several extremely specialised and complex marine engineering disciplines worldwide. The group has diversified from dredging work and land reclamation, to marine engineering projects in international waters, supplying services to oil- and-gas companies, the installation of offshore wind farms, and environmental activities such as soil remediation, sludge recycling and reassessment of brown fields and wreck clearance.
GeoSea (part of DEME Group) is a fast growing company specialising in complex offshore marine engineering projects. GeoSea has participated in the construction of large-scale European offshore wind farms. GeoSea’s jack-up platforms include Innovation, Neptune, Thor, Goliath, Vagant, Buzzard and Zeebouwer. The new jack-up Apollo is under construction.
By Jake Frith
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