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World’s tallest jack-up installation vessel departs Chinese shipyard


Just twenty days after launching Les Alizés, Belgian Jan De Nul Group launched Voltaire, a Next-Gen Offshore Jack-Up Installation Vessel for offshore renewables and decommissioning, at the COSCO Shipping Shipyard in Nantong, China. This vessel will be the second and largest jack-up vessel in Jan De Nul’s fleet, and able to support the renewable energy industry to build next generation offshore wind farms. Both vessels will be welcomed by a global offshore wind industry that is already forecasting installation vessel shortages by mid-decade.
Designed in-house, and pushing engineering boundaries, Voltaire is built to transport, lift and install offshore wind turbines, transition pieces and foundations. The main crane with a capacity of over 3,000 tonnes will enable it to construct the current and future generation of wind farms at sea. Voltaire is ready for the future of offshore renewables, and will also be available to the oil and gas industry for the decommissioning of offshore structures. 
The jack-up vessel is fitted with a high-tech jacking system. Four giant legs of 130 metres support the vessel to achieve stable working conditions at unsurpassed water depths up to 80 meters and with an elevated load of 16,000 tonnes.

With the increasing demand for decarbonisation and lower-cost green electricity, offshore wind turbine and foundation components continue to rapidly increase in size to a point where their dimensions have largely outgrown the current market installation capability. 

Philippe Hutse, Director Offshore Division at Jan De Nul Group said “The Voltaire will enable us to work in deeper waters and reach ever higher nacelle heights than before. Adding Voltaire and Les Alizés to the fleet gives us the perfect set of vessels to execute the growing number of large and clustered international offshore wind projects. Our forward-looking view on market trends and the quick decision making to invest in this set of Next Gen installation vessels, have done us no harm. The Voltaire and Les Alizés have all the required specifications to meet the upcoming challenges in offshore renewables. We are proud to be recognised for the choices we made back in 2019, and look forward to continuing our journey, alongside industry leaders, through our contribution to renewable energy growth in the worldwide energy transition.” 
The pertinance of the Voltaire was already demonstrated in 2020 with the award of its first assignment only one year after being ordered: it will travel to the United Kingdom for the construction of the 3.6 GW Dogger Bank offshore wind farm, the world’s largest offshore wind farm, transporting and installing in total 277 GE Haliade-X turbines up to 14MW. The windfarm will generate enough energy to power up to 6 million homes every year – around 5% of the UK’s electricity needs.
The highly innovative main crane will be fitted with a Universal Quick Connector (UQC), developed by Huisman, leveraging the expertise of Jan De Nul’s operational and engineering teams. The result is a ground-breaking innovative UQC, that will deliver a major step change in safer offshore lifting activities. 
Compared to Jan De Nul’s other Jack-Up Vessel Vole au vent, this new vessel has almost double the deck space, which will enable Jan De Nul to optimize installations at sea and lower fuel consumption and emissions. Furthermore, Voltaire is able to run on second-generation biodiesel that reduces the fuel carbon footprint by up to 90%.
Les Alizés and Voltaire are equipped with a highly advanced dual exhaust filter system, removing up to 99% of nanoparticles from emissions using a diesel particulate filter (DPF) and reducing the NOx emissions and other pollutants by means of a selective catalytic reduction system (SCR) to levels in accordance with EU Stage V regulation. Together, these vessels will be the first two seaworthy installation vessels in the world with an extremely low carbon footprint. Source: Jan De Nul Group

Voltaire leaving shipyard