GE Renewable Energy plans to use the world’s largest 3D printer of its type to produce moulds for its Haliade-X offshore wind turbines, shaving months off production times for the giant components and enabling greener local manufacturing.
The US-owned OEM has teamed up with Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Casting, Composite and Processing Technology, and 3D printer specialist Voxeljet for the “game changing” initiative that aims to print moulds for castings up to 9.5 metres in diameter and weighing more than 60 tonnes.
GE planning green light for UK blade plant to serve world’s largest offshore wind farm
The project team plans to produce sand moulds for casting the complex components of the nacelle of GE’s Haliade-X turbine, among the world’s most powerful offshore machines at up to 14MW.
UK’s Harland & Wolff and Spanish companies Navantia and Windar Renovables have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which will see the new partners actively working on securing specific fixed-bottom and floating offshore wind projects, primarily within the UK, and executing them together.
Harland & Wolff said this collaboration would enable the company to take better advantage of the offshore wind opportunities set out in the UK Government’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.
“Harland & Wolff will be able to harness Navantia’s vast experience and adopt their more efficient technologies and ways of working – better positioning itself to be a more attractive and competitive proposition to wind farm developers as they seek to work with UK companies to develop windfarms off UK shores”, the UK shipyard said.
The joint venture between Navantia and Windar, established in 2015, has produced more than 100 wind turbine jacket foundations.
The Spanish companies have also manufactured five floating hull foundations for the Scottish Kincardine floating wind farm and are currently fabricating and assembling 62 jackets for Iberdrola’s Saint-Brieuc offshore wind farm in France.
Ørsted has revealed plans to spend £12bn with Scottish firms on offshore wind, in the same week that Ineos confirmed a £1bn hydrogen investment and the UK Government opened a new fund to help high-carbon businesses to decarbonise.
Ørsted’s proposals are contained in bids submitted to The Crown Estate Scotland through the ScotWind offshore wind leasing round. The Danish multinational firm has entered bids for five projects which, if approved, would collectively have a capacity of around 8.5GW. The UK Government is notably targeting 40GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030, with the Scottish Government promising to host at least 11GW of this total.
Three of the five projects are being solely overseen by Ørsted, with proposals for a mix of floating and fixed turbines. The other two are joint bids for projects solely using floating turbines, with BlueFloat Energy and Falck Renewables acting as partners. Floating turbine technologies enable wind farms to be installed in deeper waters, where winds tend to be stronger.
Energy generated at the proposed projects, Ørsted has stated, could be used to generate green hydrogen as well as being provided as electricity. The UK’s recently-published Hydrogen Strategy targets £4bn of private investment in blue and green generation, storage and usage this decade.
“Scotland undoubtedly has some of the best offshore wind resources in the world,” said Ørsted’s head of region for the UK, Duncan Clark.
“TheScotWind leasing round is a pivotal moment for the development of the offshore wind sector in Scotland, capitalising on its superb offshore wind potential and world-leading offshore engineering and contracting capabilities, unlocking investment that will create jobs and opportunities for Scottish businesses for generations.”