Orion is a colossus, 216 meters long, 49 meters wide, and almost 17 meters deep. The ship was built in China and Germany, but the idea came from engineers at DEME in Zwijndrecht. Orion was baptized Friday evening in Neudorp in the Netherlands, near the port of Vlissingen.
The ship is dangerous. Or at least if you have the ambition not to get lost. The elevator in the ship goes up six floors, then there are two more stairs to go up completely. There are also three floors down. There is even a badminton and basketball room on board. There is fitness equipment.
No other ship can do that.
But these fun facts, of course, are not the essence of this ship. The real reason for Orion’s existence is one that can be relied upon: without this ship, the new generation of heavy windmills could not be built at sea. “With this new vessel, we will be transporting and installing large foundation piles for wind turbines,” says Koen Vanderbeek, DEME’s COO. “Windmills get bigger and can generate more power, but this also makes the foundation piles for those windmills much heavier. In addition, many of these foundations have to be placed in soft ground, rather than in rock, for example, so that they are more robust.” .
“The Orion has a loading capacity of about 30,000 tons, and the accompanying crane has a lifting capacity of 5,000 tons,” Vanderbeke says. “If you take ship length, carrying capacity, deck space and carrying capacity together, that is truly unique in the world. No other ship can currently install the foundations of a new German wind farm in the Baltic Sea, which is our first order.”
A second ship of this type is on its way, also from DEME. It is now under construction in Taiwan and will be completed in 2023. This vessel is used for all kinds of missions in Asia.
(Read more below the photos)
Two thousand tons foundation pillars
In a few weeks, DEME will use Orion to install twenty-eight two thousand-tonne core piles for the Arcadis Ost 1 wind farm in the Baltic Sea in Germany. “To give you an idea of this: Such a column is as high as an apartment building,” says Quinn Vanderbecky.
Orion will transport three piles at once in the Baltic Sea, because this is the most interesting option from an economic point of view. In purely payload terms, Orion can carry more stacks at once. But then additional berths are needed (to connect the piles), and this cost will not be effective, because the twenty-eight pilings are ready in the Baltic Sea, and therefore the ship does not have to sail that far. It’s better to sail a few more times than to invest in an extra sail. By the way, the piles will be set at a depth of thirty to forty meters in the Baltic Sea, calculated from the sea floor.
The largest wind farm in the United States
So Orion will first be deployed in Germany, and then the ship will go to the UK to dismantle old oil and gas facilities. The ship will then travel to Virginia, USA, to install 176 foundations for one of the world’s largest wind farms.
The mighty is a green ship. Not only in terms of color, but also in terms of energy consumption. The ship can sail using LNG and alternative clean fuels. The heat from the ship’s exhaust gases is converted into electrical energy. The evaporation of the LNG is then used to cool the entire property.