Aurora Slim Polar Research Icebreaker
- Mikko Niini (Aker Arctic Technology Inc.) | Matti Arpiainen (Aker Arctic Technology Inc.) | Tom Mattsson (Aker Arctic Technology Inc.)
- Document ID
- Offshore Technology Conference
- OTC Arctic Technology Conference, 3-5 December, Houston, Texas, USA
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2012. Offshore Technology Conference
- 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 6.5.7 Climate Change, 1.1 Well Planning, 5.3.4 Integration of geomechanics in models, 1.7 Pressure Management, 1.10 Drilling Equipment, 4.5.10 Remotely Operated Vehicles, 1.10.1 Drill string components and drilling tools (tubulars, jars, subs, stabilisers, reamers, etc), 1.6 Drilling Operations, 4.1.6 Compressors, Engines and Turbines, 3 Production and Well Operations
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Dedicated research vessels that are capable to operate during all seasons ofthe year and under unfavourable weather conditions in the central Arctic Oceanand in the Southern Ocean are required to fulfil the new needs of polar oceanresearch for all marine disciplines. Today, no available research vessel hasthe capabilities required for this.
The European Research Icebreaker Consortium (ERICON -AB) project wasone the 35 projects identified in the 2006 roadmap of the European Forum onResearch Infrastructure (ESFRI) as a new Research Infrastructure ofpan-European interest. It was the largest project in the environmentalsciences. Funded by the European Commission for a duration of four years, theERICON project generates the scientific, strategic, legal, financial andorganisational frameworks required for advancing the decision-making process ofnational governments to commit financial resources for the construction andrunning of an European Polar Research Icebreaker.
The initial design, however, appeared to be very costly, a costestimate of up to 800 M EUR was presented, which led Europen Commission todrop the project from the ESFRI list of prioritized pan-Europeanprojects. However, as a lot of good results had been achieved inother parts of the project (science missions, co-operation models, legalstructures etc) the ERICON-AB Stakeholder Council in 2011 asked AkerArctic to study the possibilities for a more cost-efficient version forthe task.
Having received a positive response from ABB for the possibility to use PC1ice class pods as propulsion devices in the concept, AARC created a "SLIM"version for the vessel and ended up in a cost estimate under 500 MEUR, without compromising any of the scientific goals. The performance of theAURORA SLIM was verified by ice model tests in early 2012. The AURORA SLIM byAker Arctic is operated on the Aker Arctic DAS™ principle, is based on triple15 MW pods and has a displacement of only 42.000 tons instead of the previous65.000 tons. Similarly the installed power has been reduced from 101 MW to 58,5MW. A reduction of close to 45% in operating costs was estimated. The newversion also incorporates the possibility to run the icebreaker for one weekwith LNG fuel, stored in containers on the deck.
The European research icebreaker project fullfils also another importantgoal; the vessel serves in an efficient way also as a platform for newtechnical innovation, and thus serves the purpose of other EU FP7 programtargets. The AURORA SLIM, with the new pod drives and use of LNG as clean fuel,is an example of such efforts, bringing an opportunity to the European maritimeindustry to introduce new state-of-the-art solutions, thus strengthening theEuropean industries' competitiveness and leading role in technologicaldevelopments.
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