SENSEWind has completed a demonstration of its SENSE Up-Tower system that eliminates the need for cranes and conventional offshore installation vessels
The self-erecting nacelle and service system, which is suitable for use with on- and offshore wind turbines and floating wind turbines, is a significant departure from how wind turbines are usually installed. SENSEWind and its industry partners believe it can make turbine installation cheaper, quicker and safer.
Simplifying installation operations, the SENSE system reduces costs during development, construction and operation; and increases project revenue through higher availability throughout the life of a project, SENSEWind claims.
Independent analysis has shown the SENSEWind system could reduce the levelised cost of energy of a project by as much as 12%.
The SENSEWind system transforms the installation of wind turbines by eliminating the need for large, expensive cranes and crane vessels.
“By automating heavy-lifting and positioning at height, it also improves safety, while reducing technical and programme risks,” said SENSEWind. “The system has the added benefit that during operation, it can be used in reverse to allow rapid exchange of major components and complete rotor nacelle assemblies. Inspections, repair and maintenance of blades and towers are also quicker and easier.”
SENSEWind has successfully demonstrated the SENSE system in action, installing a modified Vestas V27 rotor nacelle assembly on a 26-m high tower at its test site in Northern Ireland.
SENSEWind chief executive Patrick Geraets said, “The team is extremely pleased with how well the demonstrator performed. We can now finally show the wind industry that SENSE works and has the potential to solve many of the installation and service problems for very large turbines, on and offshore. The tests have also provided us with valuable information as we work to upscale the SENSE system for the growing market.”
Further testing at SENSEWind’s assembly and test facilities is planned, to validate design models and further improve the system for the design of a multi-megawatt-capacity commercial demonstrator.
The SENSEWind team is now discussing the roll-out of an operational system with several partners, investors and clients.
SENSEWind is leading the development of the SENSE system with industry team partners Geodis, Xodus, MAATS Tech and Green Marine. Technology collaborators include PHG Consulting, GBG, BVG Associates, Houlder, Industrial Systems and Control, Tetrace, Creadis, Aerotrope, Anakata, Duncan Plant, and Knowtra.
SENSEWind commenced the development of the SENSE wind turbine installation and service system in 2015 and an Innovate UK-funded feasibility study was completed in 2017, confirming the practicality and cost-saving potential of the SENSE concept.
Design, manufacture and testing of the SENSE Up-Tower transfer system and further development of the vessel-to-tower transfer system, supported by an Energy Entrepreneur Award from the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), commenced in 2018.
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