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Safelink’s active heave compensator halves offshore wind installation costs

Safelink delivers an active heave compensator for offshore wind that cuts costs in half while increasing uptime and safety. “Our pioneering solution is making offshore wind energy more competitive around the globe,” says Andre Holthe, Commercial Manager at Safelink.Published 19 June 2023 (updated 7 Feb 2024) · 3 min read
Yellow active heave compensators in front of an orange crane

Quick information

At a glance

  • Hook-based active heave compensator
  • Designed for use in offshore wind installation
  • Faster, safer and much less costly than conventional technology

Cost remains a major obstacle to the growth of offshore wind power. For one reason, technical challenges make offshore wind farm installation up to 20 per cent more expensive than onshore wind. Today, high costs put a damper on offshore wind’s benefits: strong and consistent winds with ample space for growth and the potential to generate more electricity than any other renewable.

“The offshore environment, with high winds and waves, complicates the installation process,” explains Holthe.

Extends uptime substantially

Safelink has developed a hook-based active heave compensator (AHC) for lifting operations and installation in the offshore wind market. A heave compensator substantially reduces the effect of waves on offshore lifting operations, making the lifting conditions almost as stable as on land.

Safelink’s innovative AHC provides position and velocity compensation for all types of structures, independent of geometry and mass. “Our AHC gives offshore wind companies greater flexibility in the installation of offshore wind structures and offloading from feeder barges,” explains Holthe.

The solution is relatively low cost and lightweight compared to conventional technology. As such, it offers some exciting core capabilities.

First and foremost, it extends the operational weather window. Installation is dependent on conditions far offshore, where unpredictable storms, winds and waves can shut down operations, costing projects both time and money. The ACH counteracts this by stabilising operations.

“Installation with conventional solutions must be halted when waves reach a height of about 1.5 metres. With Safelink, operations can continue until waves are about 2.5 metres. This is just one example of how our technology extends uptime substantially,” says Holthe.

“As a result, we are able to cut installation time in half and reduce installation costs by 50 per cent,” he adds.

Crane with a giant hook lifting a heavy box out of the waves

Safelink minimises dangerous wave motion

Offshore operations carry inherent risks not found on land. Safelink’s AHC keeps dynamic amplification factors (DAF) under control, increasing safety for workers and assets alike. “I like to think of our AHC as a ‘wave eliminator’,” says Holthe.

In addition, it enables various lifting scenarios during installation, including floating-to-floating, floating-to-fixed and fixed-to-floating transfers of assets and equipment.

The ACH also comes with the option of a built-in shock absorber, enhancing safety even further.

Big offshore investments drive demand

Demand for offshore wind energy is increasing as governments invest heavily in the industry. The EU strategy on offshore renewable energy of 2020 sets targets for installed capacity of 60 GW of offshore wind by 2030 and 300 GW by 2050. The US Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 provides production and investment tax credits and opens up new areas for offshore wind development.

Safelink actively participates in this industry growth. Three AHCs are currently being built, one of which has a safe working load (SWL) of an impressive 1 250 metric tons, making it likely to be the world’s most powerful AHC when delivered in 2023.

Founded in 2012, Safelink has offices in Brazil, Finland and Norway, as well as partners in Australia, Canada, China, India and the US.

“It appears that Safelink has developed a global industry standard for ACHs in offshore wind,” concludes Holthe.

SAFELINK AS

SAFELINK AS

Dokkvegen 10, 3920 PORSGRUNN, Norway

Website

Andre Holthe

Commercial Manager

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