Maxwell Marine, a specialist in anchoring solutions, has secured a contract to develop and deliver a technical anchoring system for the inaugural fleet of uncrewed surface vessels (USVs) designated for offshore metocean measurement campaigns in the wind farm industry. The Tuco Marine Group, based in Denmark, will construct ten of these innovative vessels for Ørsted, a world-leading offshore wind farm developer.
Maxwell collaborated with Ørsted for an extended period to engineer a solution capable of withstanding the demanding roles these USVs will undertake, operating year-round in all weather conditions. A prototype recently successfully completed its trials in Norwegian and Danish waters, enduring even hurricane-force winds to rigorously test the anchoring system. The first finalized vessel will be launched by the end of 2023.
The Maxwell anchoring system, which will be incorporated into all USVs, had to adhere to stringent requirements associated with these highly technical vessels. The system had to possess complete autonomous functionality, including the windlass and roller stopper, and be capable of retrieving extended lengths of chain. The system therefore had to withstand exceptionally high forces even in the harshest of weather conditions. Given that the USVs will be spending at least half a year at sea with no human intervention, low maintenance was a paramount consideration.
Vast amounts of data
The USVs represent a significant stride towards enhancing the efficiency, economic viability and sustainability of wind farm operations. These vessels will transport measurement equipment to and from offshore sites, negating the need for large, specialized support vessels and, in turn, substantially reducing fuel emissions. During their on-site operations, the USVs will autonomously collect vast amounts of data, which can be transmitted to the shore and processed in real time. This is of utmost importance for Ørsted’s early-phase development activities leading up to the construction of new wind farms.
Thierry Vermeer, sales manager, Maxwell Marine, commented: “We were keen to be involved in the development stage of the prototype of the Ørsted USV, as it was clear the vessels will help lower emissions and the uncertainties in the expected annual energy production for new offshore wind farms. Maxwell has always shown great initiatives in the field of sustainability and the project was a strong example of how the company’s team of exceptional engineers could provide the best solution for every anchoring challenge presented to us. The project also displayed how good cooperation between partners can produce a result such as the Ørsted USV, which will provide a substantial contribution to our sustainable future.”