Wind Updates

Fish Noise Study Launched

A new study on the impact of noise on the behaviour of fish and crustaceans has been launched by the University of Hull. Designed to inform the development of offshore wind farms, the research project uses underwater television, high frequency sonar and playback systems to replicate and monitor the effect of any artificial noise in the sea, such as ships, concrete piling strokes or offshore wind turbines.

Marine Noise – The Effect of Underwater Noise in Fish and Crustaceans’ Behavioural Responses in the Field is being carried out by the University of Hull’s Institute of Estuarine and Coastal Studies (IECS) as part of the SoundWave consortium. Sea trials are due to start in the coming months.

Offshore health & safety

Placing health and safety at the forefront of all offshore wind activity is the goal of the G9 Offshore Wind Health and Safety Association Ltd, a newly launched forum from renewable energy developers Centrica, DONG Energy, E.ON, RWE Innogy, Scottish Power Renewables, SSE, Statkraft, Statoil and Vattenfall.

Senior executives of member companies will not only commit resources from their own respective teams but will also aim to actively lead the industry in finding solutions to the safety challenges that offshore wind projects face.

The G9 intend to work together to ensure that health and safety is recognised as a core value within the European offshore wind industry as well as promote and maintain the highest possible standards through the life cycle of offshore wind projects. In addition the group intends to identify key industry health and safety risks and identify best practice solutions to mitigate those risks.

Support Vessel Design Launch

A number of new hull designs designed to support offshore wind installations have been revealed by marine engineering firms.

Danish Yachts have unveiled SeaStrider, a new range of SWATH (Small Waterplane Area Twin Hull) commercial vessels designed for high-speed passenger transport. The company claims that its SeaStrider is groundbreaking both in terms of design technology and build and is the first carbon fibre SWATH to be built.

The first boat under construction in the range is for carrying service personnel and cargo to the offshore wind farms, and for transit between the wind towers. The design has already been tank tested to significant wave heights, permitting operation in almost all weather conditions. This version has an overall length of 25 metres and a beam of 10.6 metres, providing space for 24 passengers and five crew over a range of around 500 nm. In addition, the vessel is to be fitted with the base for use of a gyro transfer gangway on the transom and with specially designed brackets for a single point lift, providing a ‘one wire’ lift either on land or on a larger platform at sea.

In a related development, BMT Nigel Gee Ltd, a subsidiary of BMT Group Ltd, has announced further collaboration with Turbine Transfers on the design of a 19 metre Windfarm Support Vessel utilising the Voith Linear Jet – a propulsor unit based on an advanced ducted propeller with a stator positioned in the duct aft of the propeller, in a similar arrangement to that of a waterjet. For the same installed power the VLJ is expected to provide a bollard pull approximately 50% higher than that of a waterjet and in excess of 30% higher than conventional propellers, its developers claim.

Gearbox Prototype Testing

Prototype test results of the Brevini Wind 3 MW gearbox, which will operate in the new WinWinD 3 onshore turbine with a rotor diameter of up to 120 metres, have confirmed its performance, its developers say.

With a mass of 35 tonnes, the Brevini Wind gearbox is 25% lighter than that used in the previous WinWinD 3 MW turbine, with very low noise levels claimed for the Brevini gearbox throughout testing in Hamina, Finland, where WinWinD’s 3 MW wind turbine factory is located. The compact gearbox design also enables a reduction in the dimensions of the nacelle by 30% and, consequently, the new WinWinD 3 turbine is much lighter than comparable machines of the same class. Erection of the prototype is underway at Raahe, Finland and the field test is scheduled to start as Wind Technology goes to press.

Hydraulic Lifting Yoke Trialled

A newly developed hydraulic lifting yoke from Fyns Kran Udstyr has been tested at the London Array wind farm. Its Danish-based developers say the yoke allows a new way of handling offshore wind turbine foundation Transition Pieces (TP) which is faster, cheaper and more secure.

Fyns Kran Udstyr says the yoke makes the 370 tonne TP ready to lift within 10 minutes – only needing one employee to handle and adjust it. The 10 tonne yoke is hoisted onto the flange on top of the TP and the hydraulic system then secures the yoke to the flange. During the lift, the hydraulic yoke adjusts the TP near to its centre of gravity (CoG).

The company claims improved working conditions and enhanced safety, but also large time savings of approximately 50 minutes per turbine.

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