State-of-the-art cargo ship to dock with haul of wind turbines

10 Aug 2010

The world’s most innovative cargo ship E-Ship 1 is expected to dock in Dublin today, delivering wind turbines for Castledockrell Wind Farm in Wexford. The ship is owned by Enercon, which has supplied 25pc of the wind turbines installed in Ireland so far.

The E-Ship 1 is remarkable in many aspects and represents a full scale demonstration of numerous innovations to make cargo ships more energy efficient and economic. The most visible characteristic of the ship are four about 27m tall cylinders, which are rotating at variable speed to create lift on the cylinder body, supporting the ship-like sails.

This so-called “Magnus Effect” also give a spinning soccer ball a bent flight path during a corner kick. Due to the rotating cylinders, a highly efficient diesel-electric drive – including a steam turbine for exhaust heat, a special aerodynamic hull, an innovative propeller design and other improvements – the ship is expected to reduce fuel consumption significantly.

The two electric ship motors are modified Enercon wind turbine synchronous generators.

The E-Ship 1 is 130m long and due to its optimised, flexibly adjustable cargo bay, able to load many more wind turbine components than a conventional cargo ship. On its first regular journey it is delivering nine Enercon E-70 wind turbines including tower parts and blades for Castledockrell Wind Farm, currently under construction in Co Wexford.

The wind farm will consist of 18, 120m tall turbines with a total capacity of 41.4 MW and will supply more than 100,000 persons with clean, green energy in the future.

The service and maintenance of the wind farm will be provided by Enercon’s Tralee-based company Enercon Wind Farm Services Ireland over the next 12 years.

Since its foundation in 1984 the company has supplied 16,000 wind turbines to more than 30 countries with a total power capacity approaching 20GW and is the global leader in gearless wind turbine technology.

The quickly expanding company, which is supported by IDA Ireland, operates five service stations in Ireland and is employing an increasing amount of specialists such as installation technicians and site managers.

The E-Ship 1 will deliver the other nine wind turbines to the fleet maintained by Enercon Wind Farm Services Ireland in the upcoming weeks.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years