UNIIQ invests in Tetrahedron’s innovative crane for next-gen wind turbines

20 February 2020
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Offshore wind turbines are becoming taller and taller. The Rotterdam-based start-up Tetrahedron which is located in RDM, has developed an innovative crane that makes existing jack-up rigs suited for installing this next generation of offshore wind turbines. To help the firm further develop its innovation, UNIIQ has awarded Tetrahedron an investment from its proof-of-concept fund. The investment was announced by Vice Mayor Arjan van Gils (Finance, Organisation, Port and Large Projects) during the PortXL Selection Days in Rotterdam.

Left to right: Vice Mayor Arjan van Gils (Rotterdam), Alexander Ronse (Tetrahedron), Wilco Stavenuiter (Tetrahedron), Hans Dreijklufft (UNIIQ), Thijs van den Munckhof (UNIIQ, Martin Li (UNIIQ).
Photo: Daniel Verkijk

New wind turbines even larger than previous generation

Offshore wind power is expected to grow in leaps and bounds over the next decades. To satisfy the strong demand for wind power, the new wind turbines installed out at sea are rapidly increasing in size. In the near future, the current self-elevating turbine installation vessels, or jack-up rigs, will no longer be able to raise themselves high enough to reach the uppermost parts of these structures. The Rotterdam-based firm Tetrahedron is developing an innovative crane that makes existing jack-up rigs suited for installing the coming generations of 10-20MW wind turbines out on the water.

The owners of today’s jack-up rigs are working hard to find new solutions for upgrading their vessels so they can lift higher. Only then can they remain relevant: if they don’t adapt to the current scaling-up in offshore wind power, the sector may not have any use for their jack-ups in a few years’ time.

However, the current upgrade options come with certain limitations. They make the cranes heavier – which reduces lift capacity. And when a jack-up is moving to the work site, the crane needs to be lowered to a horizontal position. It is not allowed to be (too much) longer than the vessel itself. This, too, poses a challenge for the existing upgrade options.

Tetrahedron designs crane that can reach to new heights

The innovation incorporated in Tetrahedron’s unique design upgrades the existing crane in terms of lift height without sacrificing lift capacity. Furthermore, the crane isn’t longer than before when horizontal, meaning that it still fits on the jack-up rig while the vessel is underway.

Tetrahedron will be using the UNIIQ investment to further develop the crane and take the steps required for certification. Tetrahedron co-owner and design manager Alexander Ronse: ‘We are delighted with UNIIQ’s confidence in the product, our plans and our team. For Tetrahedron, this investment will play a vital role in bringing our technology one step closer to realisation.’

UNIIQ fund manager Hans Dreijklufft: ‘Tetrahedron’s innovative crane is a major step forward for the offshore sector. We are very pleased that by investing via UNIIQ, we are able to contribute to an innovation that offers ship owners a solution for adapting their jack-up rigs to the wind turbines of tomorrow.’

During the Future Flux Festival x 10YRDM Rotterdam in June 2019, Tetrahedron pitched their innovation for UNIIQ in the "invest in me bubble". This was the first step in the process that, after six months of research into market needs, resulted in this investment by UNIIQ in Tetrahedron BV.
Tetrahedron is located on RDM at Heijplaat.