Friede & Goldman (F&G) has developed an offshore feeder solution for the installation of wind turbines – the BargeRack.

BargeRack utilises a trussed rack fitted to the transom of a small self-elevating vessel. The feeder barge is floated over the submerged rack. Once the feeder barge is secured, the self-elevating vessel uses its onboard jacking system to elevate, while also lifting the feeder barge completely out of the water.

From this position, the main crane installs the wind turbine components onto the turbine foundation. After installation, the self-elevating unit jacks down into the water, submerging the rack, and re-floating the now empty feeder barge.

According to F&G, the BargeRack eliminates the motions between the installation vessel and feeder vessel, which removes the need for expensive and heavy motion compensation equipment.

This also means the solution reduces downtime by extending the operational weather window, F&G said, adding: “You can’t offload cargo if barge motions exceed very low limits. Finding this narrow window can be a huge challenge and often leads to downtime.”

In addition, F&G said that due to the simplicity of the design, existing US infrastructure can be used, which eliminates the need for purpose-built feeder vessels or expensive and complicated feeder barges.