Offshore wind energy is growing fast around the world. Its development is tied to, among other things, solid, reliable and immediate access for turbine-related operation and maintenance services [O&M].
Some of the components of the biggest and more advanced offshore turbines could reach up to 150 tons.
At the present time, the maintenance of those heavy components is conducted by large floating crane vessels, not economically viable, due to its limited availability, mobilization times and high day rates (>$300.000/day).
On the other hand, jack-up vessels are a more affordable and available option. Nevertheless, they have a limited range of operation: the vessel needs to ground its support legs at the seafloor, to provide a stable platform. Therefore, wind turbines cannot be installed at deeps larger than 40 - 50 m, limiting the areas where the wind farms could be deployed, operated and maintained.
In order to develop larger and more powerful turbines, larger wind resources are required. Usually, those resources could be found offshore, away from the coast line, leading to larger depths. Therefore, floating turbines, instead if fixed (mono piles, truss structures o similar), are in development, so access to the seabed for maintenance operations, will not be longer possible.
Innovation what makes the design novel?
The Maintenance Platform Demonstrator is a limitless depth & height solution for conducting heavy maintenance and construction of offshore wind farms.
1. Could be used for maintenance, construction and decommission.
2. Adaptable to any tower geometry. Any diameter and variable or uniform sections.
3. No special vessels required for its deployment and operation. It is a jack-up and floating crane vessel free solution.
4. Easy operation and maintenance.
5. Reusable. One annular platform can service one or multiple wind farms.
6. Multipurpose. For conducting maintenance of any turbine component.
7. Based on already developed, robust and well-known structural and mechanical concepts: low development risks.
8. Self-propelled (hydraulic / electric), self-powered (battery / ICE) or powered from the vessel.
9. Reduced sensitivity to adverse whether conditions: higher accessibility and availability.
- Weight is estimated in 30 tons [before structural optimization].
- It doesn't modify significantly the original tower design loads. Platform weights represents:
- Less than 8% of the tower head mass (when the entire turbine is configured - 360 tons).
- Less than 0.3% of the a typical turbine weight
- Steel-plate structure:
- High strength steels.
- Thicknesses from 10 to 25 mm.
- In 2016, and in Europe only, new investments in offshore wind energy, reached an investment value of m€18.2 ($20.300.000.000).
- From 5 to 10 % of those investments costs are associated to operation & maintenance [O&M] of the farms.
- 73% of Offshore O&M costs are vessel cost
So the potential market for this type of maintenance platforms, is more than m€740 ($665.000.000), annually.
Global offshore wind investment in 2016 was close to $30 billion, therefore, the associated vessel maintenance-cost represents approximately 5% O&M cost × 75% vessel cost × $30 billion ≈ $1 billion, annually.
ABOUT THE ENTRANT
Name: Eduardo Fernandez Lacruz
Type of entry: individual
Number of times previously entering contest:1
Eduardo's favorite design and analysis
Ansys & SolidWorks
For managing CAD data Eduardo's company uses: None
Eduardo's hobbies and activities:
Gastronomy, photography, cinema and computers
Software used for this entry:
Patent status: none