Largest wind turbine blades and offshore wind farm vessel ready


Two new technological developments in the global wind power industry have been garnering media interest recently as the emissions-free generating sector continues to increase its world-wide installed capacity year after year after year.

Siemens announced earlier in August that it had built, at 75 metres, the world’s largest rotor blade for wind turbines.

By way of comparison, and to understand just how long the new Siemens blade is, those who attended EWEA’s Annual Event in Copenhagen in April 2012 may remember that massive LM Wind Power 73.5-metre blade displayed outside the Bella Center.

Siemens says the massive blades made of fibre glass will be used by the company’s new 6 megawatt offshore wind turbines.

The company says the blades will be installed later this summer in Denmark’s Østerild on the first prototype 6 MW turbine with the 154-metre rotor.

“Each rotor has a diameter of 154 metres covering 18,600 square metres, which is the size of two and a half soccer fields,” a company press release noted.

“The tips of the blades move at up to 80 metres per second, or 290 kilometers per hour. The huge rotor was made possible by special technologies that enable Siemens to make extremely strong yet lightweight structures.”

However, according to an article in Wind Power Monthly, Chinese turbine manufacturer CSIC Haizhuang is building a 5 MW wind turbine that will also employ 75-metre blades when installed at the Rudong demonstration offshore wind farm, in Jiangsu province, by the end of the year.

CSIC is not the only manufacturer to make 75-metre blades in China, Wind Power Monthly said, adding Zhongfu Liazhong said earlier this year it was also able to produce blades of this size. All this is yet another reminder to European politicians that China is knocking on the door of Europe’s current market leader position, and the EU must invest in wind technology R&D if it is to stay ahead of the game.

In another development that will also benefit the offshore wind sector, Samsung Heavy Industries announced recently the delivery of the world’s biggest wind farm installation vessel.

In a company news release, Samsung said the Pacific Orca and vessels like it that transport and install wind turbines will help the offshore wind market as it continues to establish its presence in coastal waters.

Pacific Orca is 161 metres long, 49 metres wide and 10.4 metres high. Samsung said the vessel is capable of carrying and installing as many as 12 units of 3.6 megawatt-class wind farms.

“It also allows installation of offshore wind farms at a depth of 60 metres, the deepest possible in the world, as well as installation of ultra-large wind farms with a capacity of 10 megawatts or larger,” the news release said.

The company added the new boat was built to allow installation of wind farms even under extreme conditions of heavy winds with the velocity of 20 metres per second and waves as high as 2.5 metres.

Samsung also said the capacity of global offshore wind farms is expected to grow rapidly to reach 293 gigawatts by 2030. “That is about 70 times the current market size of 3.5 gigawatts, or 1,000 units of 3.5 megawatt-class power generators.”