During the EWEA conference this week in Amsterdam, Mercon and ALE will introduce a new concept for installing offshore mestmasts named EMI, for Eco Metmast Installation.
Mercon and ALE have decided to team up to introduce EMI. Willem Griffioen, Managing Director at Mercon feels the two companies are the right combination. “Mercon is a renowned construction company with a long history in building offshore platforms. ALE, on the other hand, is a global heavy lift and transportation company. Expertise in complementary activities, thus.”
“Mercon and ALE have already worked successfully together on Offshore projects before”, Griffioen adds.
With the EMI method, no piles need to driven for fixing the foundation to the seabed.
This makes the installation very eco-friendly. The structure is being transported horizontally on a barge and upended to vertical position by a special frame. Next, the structure is lowered to the sea bottom where pumps are used to suck the lower part of the structure into the sea floor. This suction anchor technology keeps the structure at its place and enhances easy installation and decommissioning of the metmast. The EMI method is suitable for a variety of soil conditions such as sand and clay.
Besides innovative and eco friendly technology, the concept is also very economical. Kees Kompier, Executive Director at ALE explains: “The EMI installation method is much quicker and cheaper than the current more conventional ways. First of all, an expensive installation vessel is not needed anymore; a standard barge equipped with the upending frame will do. Secondly, no pile driving equipment is needed on board which also saves costs.’’
New concept but proven technology
EMI is a new concept in offshore wind but already a proven technology in the offshore Oil & Gas industry.
Developed by Mercon and ALE in 2010 and that same year awarded with a project by Shell UK and NAM. In September 2011, a first Riser Access Tower was installed using the EMI principle. Next to lower costs of installation, Shell and NAM choose this installation concept also because of the ease of installation and possibility of relocation.
For this project, Engineering company KCI took care of the basic engineering and detailed design. Mercon and ALE will again work with KCI for the complete engineering of EMI.
Offshore WIND staff, November 28, 2011; Image: emi-wind