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Electron beam welding works for wind turbine monopiles

Turbine monopile being installed at Dogger Bank wind farm
Turbine monopile being put in at Dogger Financial institution wind farm

A collaboration between Cambridge Vacuum Engineering, SSE Renewables, Sif Group, and The Welding Institute (TWI) used electron beam welding for a monopile destined for Dogger Financial institution, 130km off the northeast coast of England.

Monopiles are at present fabricated utilizing typical strategies equivalent to submerged arc welding however the consortium has demonstrated that electron beam welding is faster, cheaper, cleaner, extra vitality environment friendly whereas nonetheless producing prime quality welds with wonderful fatigue properties, the companions say.

The kind of electron beam welding expertise used – referred to as Ebflow – is a brand new improvement inside the electron beam welding trade. As a substitute of welding inside a expensive and size-limiting vacuum chamber, Ebflow makes use of a neighborhood vacuum system that creates and maintains a vacuum round solely the seam that’s being welded. This method makes it possible to make use of electron beam welding on giant constructions, equivalent to the largest monopiles, decreasing prices and enhancing productiveness.

The expertise – developed by Cambridge Vacuum Engineering (CVE) – has been proven to weld monopiles a minimum of 25 occasions quicker than present strategies, whereas utilizing 90% much less vitality, costing 88% much less, and producing 97% much less CO2 emissions than submerged arc welding (SAW) strategies.

The challenge required set up of an Ebflow system at Sif’s Maasvlakte 2 facility in Rotterdam to carry out a number of longitudinal welds on 2750 mm size seams on eight-metre diameter rolled cans with a wall thickness of between 67 and 85 mm.

Qualification of the welding machine, weld procedures and operators was witnessed by third get together inspectors and the regulatory physique DNV, which subsequently issued a expertise qualification for electron beam welding and non-destructive testing (NDT) of the longitudinal seams produced with the method. Testing confirmed that Ebflow produces welds with fatigue energy that’s a minimum of pretty much as good, if not higher, than equal arc welded joints.

The ensuing can was integrated right into a monopile transition piece in January 2023 and is scheduled to be put in offshore as a part of a basis in Dogger Financial institution Wind Farm in late 2023.

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Olly Cass, SSE Renewables challenge director for Dogger Financial institution wind farm, stated:  “With monopile sort foundations accounting for over 90% of foundations utilized in UK tasks, Ebflow RPEB [reduced pressure, electron beam] may realise vital price financial savings on future tasks.

“These substantial financial savings won’t solely profit the UK offshore engineering trade however might be handed on to UK vitality shoppers.

“We’re proud to be pioneering this revolutionary method on Dogger Financial institution Wind Farm by demonstrating its capabilities on a crucial offshore part and this is able to not have been attainable with out the good collaborative work with Cambridge Vacuum Engineering (CVE), Sif Group, and TWI. We’re enthusiastic about what might be achieved by scaling up this methodology to choose up the tempo as we work in the direction of internet zero targets.”

Dogger Financial institution Wind Farm is a three way partnership between SSE Renewables, Equinor and Vårgrønn. The farm is being inbuilt three 1.2GW phases and is anticipated to start out producing energy this summer time.

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