Innovative Vessel to Spring Into Action on EnBW Offshore Wind Farm

EnBW and Wallaby Boats have christened the offshore transfer vessel Impulse in the port of Kappeln, Germany, as the vessel gets ready to service the Baltic 2 offshore wind farm starting in May.

Ralf Otzipka/EnBW

The two companies have jointly launched the ship which is equipped with a new type of suspension system said to enable technicians to safely access offshore wind turbines even in high waves.

The vessel is also reportedly more economical compared to previous transfer ships, the companies said.

”With innovative technologies, we are setting new standards for safe and efficient deployment at sea. The transfer vessel ‘Impulse’ will help us to produce even more reliable and cost-effective electricity with offshore wind energy in the future. We are also pleased to be able to rely on the technical expertise and quality standards of Germany as a business location through the development and construction of the ship in Schleswig-Holstein,” EnBW’s CEO, Dr Georg Stamatelopoulos, said.

Impulse was built at Hitzler Werft GmbH in Lauenburg/Elbe, and is the world’s first ship with a suspension system for commercial use, according to Wallaby Boats.

Schleswig-Holstein’s State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Technology, Julia Carstens, said: ”With the ‘Impulse’, Wallaby Boats GmbH as a start-up proves that young companies can bring innovative technologies to the market. The new building not only brings added value to the country, but also makes transport to offshore platforms much safer for personnel. I am particularly pleased that this new hull technology was taken up in Schleswig-Holstein, implemented by Wallaby Boats and the Hitzler shipyard and realized in Schleswig-Holstein with the help of a broad financial network.”

This suspension system, developed by Australian inventor Nauti-Craft, is said to enable the two hulls of the catamaran to independently balance and compensate for wave forces and the resulting movements. As a result, the deck of the ship, the so-called chassis, can be kept relatively calm in the passive mode of the system and can dampen a considerable part of the accelerations during transit. In active mode, it even remains absolutely balanced, Wallaby Boats said.

Germany’s Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, Dr. Robert Habeck, said: ”The ship Impulse is a pioneering piece of German engineering. Our goal is for offshore wind farms with a total capacity of 30 GW to produce electricity in Germany by 2030. To do this, we will need even more ships like this – an opportunity for industrial growth in our country and the decarbonisation of our energy system.”

Wallaby Boats is a spin-off of OFFCON GmbH.

Harald Hübner, Managing Director of OFFCON GmbH, said: ”Together with all our sponsors and supporters, we are delighted to have developed such an innovative ship as a family business from the small town of Kappeln and now to bring it to the world’s oceans in several, further improved variants. Without the support of the state of Schleswig-Holstein, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and EnBW, we would never have come this far. We are very grateful for that.”

The ship’s most innovative features include an upper main deck structure and two separate hulls connected by an active or passive hydraulic suspension and damping system to compensate for wave motion.

The movement of the hulls caused by the swell is damped by the cylinders of this hydraulic system and also converted into pressure and heat energy. The waste heat is used to heat the ship, including the deck, in winter and the pressure will be converted back into electrical energy in future, which can be used to support the entire power supply on the ship.

In addition, the deck superstructures are equipped with integrated photovoltaic elements in order to reduce resource requirements during operation, according to Wallaby Boats.


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