Power & Energy Solutions

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With the Geislinger Compowind® coupling the Austrian-based company sets new standards for the wind drivetrain technology. Lightweight, fatigue-resistant, and maintenance-free composite membranes virtually absorb all bending moments and allow the gearbox to be rigidly attached to the main frame. Therefore, not only is the gearbox relieved from unnecessary loads, but the dynamic system behaviour of the wind turbine is also enhanced beyond comparison. Gearbox loads become predictable and fatigue loads are virtually eliminated. This results in the highest reliability and availability of the wind turbine and increases their profitability. Since 2016, several European offshore wind farms have been equipped with a Compowind® coupling and wind power has become an important business segment for Geislinger. Gearbox load The use of flexible low-speed shaft (LSS) couplings in wind turbines is still an innovation, normally, the gearbox is mounted in such a way as to compensate for structural deflections, in marine propulsion it is state-of-the art: to safeguard the drivetrain and prevent the gearbox from unnecessary loads, the gearbox is always rigidly attached to the hull, whereas an elastic coupling absorbs offsets, stemming from flexible mounted engines.

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‘Measure twice, cut once’ as the old proverb goes. And it is true. A thorough geological site investigation campaign is one of the most important sources of data when it comes to designing foundations. Especially in the case of high-risk offshore constructions such as wind turbines. However, what should we do if the style changes even before we start to cut? Or, even worse, climate change forces us to sew a summer dress instead of making a winter coat? Should we measure once again? Moreover, what if the client is far away and does not want to be bothered? Can we deduce the missing values for the new dress pattern from existing measurements? All of these questions arise if the layout of a wind farm changes after the geotechnical campaign has been completed. It may take several years to develop an offshore wind farm project from the initial desk studies through to the construction phase. During this time, a number of reasons may lead to changes to the original wind farm layout, the position of the wind turbines in relation to each other. One of them is the continuing development of wind turbine technology itself and the availability of ever larger

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Nobody expects a wind turbine to catch fire, but it happens. Unfortunately, it is unknown just how much it happens, and this opens the industry up to significant losses due to a lack of best practice when managing fire risk. As found in our recent report, ‘In the Line of Fire’, there is a serious lack of data and transparency around fire hazards at wind farms. Often, the logic goes that a lack of data must mean that it’s a tiny risk, and one that will never happen on your own wind farm. In a cost-competitive, optimization-driven market like wind power, who can blame them? With the pressure to reduce LCOE and development costs for wind turbines, corners can often get cut and protecting turbines for low frequency events is considered financially unjustifiable. But as the Texas freeze has shown, the unexpected can hit at any moment for power producers, and when it does, it can spell disaster for energy providers. The point of safety is to take proactive steps to reduce the chances of damage to assets or health. When the risk is unknown, due to a lack of a formal system in place to collect, measure, and share data around wind turbine

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PES spoke with Hans Gatzemeier, CEO of ELA Container Offshore Gmbh, about how to increase flexibility by renting their offshore mobile room solutions. This solution is proving more and more popular, as it means that once finished with, the containers can be collected. The pandemic has meant working in different ways, and Hans admits he has missed the personal contact at trade shows and looks forward to business resuming as usual as soon as possible. PES: Hi Hans, it’s great to hear from you and your team once again. It’s been around 6 months since we last spoke and the pandemic certainly hasn’t made things any simpler in the industry. Hans Gatzemeier: Many thanks, and yes, I think the last report was in November 2020. At that point we thought the end of the pandemic was in sight, but here we are still in the midst of it. Vaccinations have provided the light at the end of the tunnel for us. However, we will most likely be required to continue to be patient. PES: You have maintained a strong presence at trade fairs and events despite the situation. As these were mainly digital, I’d be interested to learn whether you believe these

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Fears that automation will lead to mass unemployment are a recurring social and economic issue. In recent decades, these fears have been fed by the rapid spread of industrial robots, the use of which has become prevalent in the wind industry. While robotization within the industry has many positive aspects, such as carrying out the notoriously dangerous ‘blade walks’ on offshore wind turbines, the threat of technology replacing jobs is ever present. The International Federation of Robotics (IFR) confirms the steep rise in the use of robots and automation. Sales of professional service robots increased by 32% to USD11.2 billion worldwide in 2018-2019. And, says the IFR, the Covid-19 pandemic is set to further boost the market, with high demand for robotics logistics solutions in factories and warehouses. The use of robotics has been praised for a multitude of savings: revolutionizing manufacturing production lines with the use of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), helping to reduce carbon footprints by reducing the energy consumption of production with better energy efficiency and higher precision rates, and strengthening global supply chains by leveling productivity through automation. The wind industry has embraced the use of robotics and their potential benefits. Research from 20191 into the potential

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DHSS has become a well-known, high-level player in the services it provides for the offshore wind industry over the last five years. The company was founded in 1997, as a ships agency for clients mainly working in the seismic industry, searching for oil & gas. Nowadays it is a full service provider to the offshore energy industries, with offshore wind as its core business. While still assisting O&G related companies in their transition period towards a net-zero emission environment. Vessel agency and port operations A wide variety of logistic services for equipment and crews plus add on activities, makes DHSS the ‘Amazon’ for the offshore energy industry: delivering a wide range of qualified services from A to Z. Our success is built on being our clients’ representatives on the ground, acting in their best interests on every issue, 24 hours a day. Integrity is one of our five core values and a cornerstone of our business principles. Our culture and philosophy are to always address our clients’ logistics challenges with a partnership approach, utilizing the key concepts of ‘The DHSS Way’. Providing vessel agency services, port logistics and warehouse management, helicopter operations and coordinating solutions that will improve our clients’ operations now and, in

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Wind Energy Asia took place in real and virtual format: a true hybrid unfolded in only months! Another great event in a difficult environment. Robert Campbell, Executive Vice President at Wind Energy Asia, reviews the show for PES. After a great show in March 2020, with the pandemic taking off worldwide, but well under control in Taiwan, we expected that by March 2021 the world would be back to normal. Sometime around September it was clear that this would not be the case. Taiwan’s 14-day quarantine for all incoming visitors, did not seem like budging and to get foreign companies to exhibit and visitors to plan on coming, was not working. We needed a virtual complement to the real show. After an intense search of alternatives, we decided on a partner who could provide a solution. It turned out to be a true hybrid. It gave participants who were not able to be in Kaohsiung in person, the feeling of being in the hall and the ability to communicate in a typical exhibition format: meet people by chance to talk and share presentations and ideas/solutions. Our strategy was twofold: for exhibitors and visitors.

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Thirty years ago, there was not a single megawatt of offshore wind capacity on the planet; now, there are more than 29GW installed globally, and offshore wind is seen as a vital clean energy source with which to tackle climate change and reduce our carbon footprint. The next 30 years will see an even more spectacular rate of expansion with 1,400GW credibly achievable by 2050. There is an ‘if’ and a ‘but’ coming, though: such rapid growth in capacity will only be possible if the industry is sitting upon a much more reliable subsea cable network than today. Tomorrow’s cables will need to cope with more wind power and achieve reliability over longer distances, too, as operations push further and deeper offshore. Looking ahead to the future, we will also see the commercialisation of floating wind platforms using dynamic cables, a switchover to high-voltage direct current cables (HVDC) across the offshore wind industry, offshore hydrogen charging stations coming online, and the meshing all of these into the ‘Supergrid’ of the future. That is why stabilising and reducing cable failure rates is one of the crucial innovation challenges for the wind industry in the here and now. Cables have proven to be

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Decision-makers in the wind-energy industry are faced with a choice of three options when their wind energy converters (WECs) approach the end of their design life: they can either dismantle, repower or continue the operation of their WECs. In many cases, available lifetime reserves allow cost-effective continued operation. TÜV SÜD explains how to prepare the expert report needed for lifetime extension quickly and easily. After 20 years, the design life of most wind-energy converters (WECs) is nearing its end. In terms of both sustainability and economic efficiency, it may be worthwhile t commission expert determination of the lifetime reserves of the WECs and continue their operation for a limited period before repowering or dismantling them. Continued operation can make good sense for logistical reasons, particularly where large numbers of installations and wind farms are involved. This applies especially to cases where repowering is not an option and the power generated by the WECs brings in at least the operating costs. When choosing this option, decision-makers must consider safety-related, legal and economic aspects. TÜV SÜD recommends acting early before expiry of the design life if possible.

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Rapid increase of onshore wind energy requires more and more land. Sometimes the new wind farms are located in bird sensitive areas. This is also true for some projects prepared for repowering. On the other hand, many wind farms face restrictions in operation due to bird mortality e.g. extended turbine shutdowns in migratory periods. Wind energy is one of the most ecological energy sources. It is clean, renewable, has low operating costs, is space-efficient. But there are also cons. Fatal collisions between birds and wind turbine blades is one of the most important ones. Research based on field studies, video monitoring, or more recently tracking large birds using transmitters, contributes to social awareness and shows that the problem is serious, especially for endangered species. This casts a shadow on the image of wind farms as a source of 100% green energy. The mortality of birds, especially threatened species, has an impact on the conduct of this business. Regulatory offices are introducing new restrictions on the operation of turbines during the bird breeding season, during spring or the autumn migration. Therefore, turbines are stopped for a few, sometimes several weeks per year.

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