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Onsite Major Component Replacement Technologies for Floating Offshore Wind: the Status of the Industry World Forum Offshore Wind (WFO)

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Charley Rattan's picture
World Hydrogen Leader , Charley Rattan Associates

UK based offshore wind & hydrogen corporate advisor and trainer; Faculty member World Hydrogen Leaders. Delivering global hydrogen and offshore wind corporate investment advice, business...

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  • Feb 10, 2023

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Onsite Major Component Replacement Technologies for Floating Offshore Wind: the Status of the Industry World Forum Offshore Wind (WFO)

The offshore wind installation and maintenance market is changing to keep up with the progress of the industry. Bigger turbines, more distant wind farm sites and floating foundations require new equipment and approaches. Given available technology, tow-to-port is treated as the base case for floating wind heavy maintenance.

So far, the industry has experienced only a few cases of tow-to-port maintenance at project scale (Kincadine). However, tow-to-port may not be a feasible heavy maintenance approach for certain commercial-scale floating wind projects, which is why new solutions for onsite maintenance are emerging. Add-on cranes can be placed on the FOWT and perform the major component replacement from the unit, thereby eliminating relative motions between two bodies (e.g. the floater and a vessel crane). Several add-on concepts are under development, with varying hoisting or climbing capabilities and support system designs. Vessel cranes are a mobile solution that can perform the maintenance of both bottom-fixed and floating wind turbines.

The vessel crane market, which has historically been serving bottom-fixed wind farms, is upgrading concepts to address the key challenge of relative motions between the floater and the vessel. Onsite heavy maintenance has the potential to reduce repair time and downtime as well as eliminate the need for disconnection of the FOWT; however, technology track record, cost and overarching floating wind market uncertainties are key challenges for new technologies to reach the market in the next decade. At the moment, heavy maintenance concept providers are making strategic decisions based on stakeholder priorities.

For project developers and insurers, cost reduction potential is paramount. For turbine OEMs, there is particular interest in applications that require the least amount of turbine modifications possible. Floater designers who develop platforms with the technical requirements for onsite heavy maintenance (e.g. ballast system, landing zone) could facilitate their market entry. Ultimately, heavy maintenance suppliers will need to choose the size of the envelope they want to design for until there is a standardisation of floater designs.

Floating Wind and Hydrogen




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