Meet Voltaire: World's tallest wind turbine installation ship that's greater than Eiffel Tower

It will play a key role in constructing the world's largest offshore wind farm.
Loukia Papadopoulos
The fourth-generation offshore jack-up "Voltaire"
The fourth-generation offshore jack-up "Voltaire"

VCG/Getty Images 

Belgian contractor Jan De Nul’s massive Voltaire wind turbine installation vessel (WTIV) is on its way to help build the world’s biggest wind farm, the 3.6GW Dogger Bank in the UK North Sea, according to a press release by the company published last week.

“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,” noted the statement.

Building a wind farm

Voltaire is built to transport, lift and install all the elements necessary for offshore wind turbines. It features a main crane with a capacity of over 3,000 tonnes and four giant legs of 130 meters to 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. 

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.” 

An important first assignment

The Voltaire was awarded her first assignment in 2020, only one year after her order. The project’s goal was to spearhead the construction of the 3.6 GW Dogger Bank offshore wind farm in the U.K., the world’s largest offshore wind farm.

The assignment will see the massive ship transport and install in total 277 GE Haliade-X turbines up to 14MW. The resulting wind farm will generate enough energy to power up to 6 million homes every year.

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Steve Wilson, Dogger Bank Project Director said: “We congratulate Jan De Nul on successfully launching its unrivaled Jack up Vessel, the Voltaire. This impressive installation vessel will play a critical role in the construction of all three phases of Dogger Bank Wind Farm when it enters service, demonstrating an innovative engineering solution to the growing challenge presented by larger and more technically demanding wind farms.”

Conscious of their environmental footprint, Jan De Nul has equipped the Voltaire with a highly advanced dual exhaust filter system that removes up to 99 percent of nanoparticles from emissions using a diesel particulate filter (DPF) and reduces the NOx emissions and other pollutants by means of a selective catalytic reduction system (SCR) to levels in accordance with EU Stage V regulation.