Wind turbine towers destined for the world’s biggest offshore wind park are being transported upright on board a BBC Chartering and Logistic ship in an innovative project aimed at improving on similar methodology used when the towers are shipped by barge.
One hundred and forty turbines, destined for the Greater Gabbard Wind Turbine Park, off the east coast of England, are being transported in 36 shipments onboard BBC Konan.
Fluor, the EPC that is responsible for the development of the wind park, requested that the nacelles be mounted with hubs, and the bottom tower sections be shipped with the electronics installed prior to the shipment. This meant that the tower sections could not be shipped lying down, but had to be transported upright on custom-made transport foundations.
“Up until now, this has only been done on a barge in this way,” said Christine Schou Jensen, logistics manager in BBC’s windmill office in Aarhus, adding that “poor weather affects barge sailings more than sailings made be oceangoing ships.
“Our port captains, windmill department, and naval architects worked in close co-operation with the manufacturer of the transport platform to produce the appropriate equipment for the move. The key advantage of moving the items upright is the customer can save time in the port of discharge as the tower sections arrive with the electronics already in them.”
Each bottom tower section, which is on deck in an upright position, weighs 90 tonnes and is 25 m high. The forward position of the BBC Konan’s bridge means that the upright towers do not obstruct the crew’s view. The wind turbine blades measure 52 m in length, and the nacelles with the pre-mounted hubs are the heaviest pieces, weighing 177 tonnes each.
The BBC Konan, which can handle cargoes up to 300 tonnes in weight using its onboard cranes, will be sailing in a shuttle service between Esbjerg, Denmark, and Harwich, UK, until November, and then again from February/March until September 2010. Ms Schou Jensen points out that companies might consider using the new transport solution to move wind turbine units over longer distances as well.
The Greater Gabbard Wind Turbine Park is expected to be completed by 2011 and to have the capacity to produce enough electricity to power 415,000 homes.