The Anonymous Widower

MingYang Turbines to Spin on Hexicon’s Floating Offshore Wind Project

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on offshoreWIND.biz.

This is the sub-heading, which outlines MingYang’s part in the project.

Hexicon has selected China-headquartered Mingyang Smart Energy (Mingyang) as the preferred turbine supplier for its flagship 32 MW TwinHub floating offshore wind project in the UK.

These two paragraphs add more detail.

Hexicon has also awarded Mingyang the wind turbine generator Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) contract for the project, which is located 16 kilometres off the coast of Cornwall, England.

TwinHub will use Hexicon’s TwinWind floating foundation technology which will allow two of Mingyang’s MySE 8.0-180 wind turbines to be placed on a single foundation, which could enable more energy to be generated in a given area while reducing the environmental impact compared with a single foundation.

It’s rather a pity, that Swedish company; Hexicon should be using Chinese turbines and design contracts.

  • I’m sure that one of the European manufacturers could have supplied 8 MW turbines.
  • Some might even have parts made in the UK.

Perhaps, Hexicon see China as a major market for their TwinHub floating foundation technology.

On the other hand, I have experience of doing the floatation mathematics for large structures from my work with Balaena Structures in the 1970s and feel they are not as straightforward as some might think. But Hexicon may feel their design doesn’t hold any secrets!

November 21, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Norwegians Developing Monopile Foundation For 100-Metre Depths

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on offshoreWIND.biz.

Monopile foundations are a common fixed foundation for offshore wind farms.

The article starts with this paragraph.

Norway’s Entrion Wind and Techano AS have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) through which Techano AS will join the ongoing development and test project planned to take place in Kristiansand, Norway for the patent-pending fully restrained platform (FRP) offshore wind foundation technology said to extend the operating depth of the monopile technology to up to 100 metres.

It does seem that the Norwegians are intending to take this type of foundation to new heights. Or is it new depths?

A picture in the article shows a tall monopole held in position by three wires securely anchored in the sea-bed. It reminds me slightly of the sort of flag-poles, that we used to build in Scout camps in the 1960s, using Scout staves, ropes and tent pegs.

But seriously in the 1970s, I did the calculations for a company called Balaena Structures, who were trying to develop a reusable oil and gas platform.

  • The company had been started by two Engineering professors from Cambridge University.
  • The platforms were formed of a long steel cylinder, which would have been built horizontally in the sort of ship-yards, that were used to build supertankers.
  • They were to be floated out horizontally and then turned upright.
  • Weight and the gumboot principle would have kept them, in place.

The design also included a square platform on the top end. Originally, they were planning to put the platform on top after erection, but I showed that, it would be possible to erect cylinder and platform, by just allowing water to enter the cylinder.

The project had a somewhat unfulfilling end, in that they never sold the idea to an operator and the company closed.

But I still believe something similar has a future in the offshore energy industry.

It could be a foundation for a wind turbine or possibly as I indicated in The Balaena Lives, it could be used to clear up oil field accidents like Deepwater Horizon.

Could This Be A Design For A Hundred Metre Plus Monopole Foundation?

Construction and installation would be as follows.

  • A long cylinder is built in a ship-yard, where supertankers are built.
  • One end, which will be the sea-bed end after installation, is closed and has a skirt a couple of metres tall.
  • The other end is profiled to take the transition piece that is used as a mount for the wind turbine.
  • A float would be added to the top end for tow-out. This will help the cylinder to float and erect.
  • Water would be added into the cylinder and, if the dimensions are correct, it will turn through ninety degrees and float vertically.
  • It would be towed to a dock, where a large crane on the dock would remove the float and install the turbine.
  • The turbine and its foundation would then be towed into place and by adding more water lowered to the sea-bed.
  • The float would be reused for the next turbine.

Note.

  1. The float is needed to nudge the cylinder to turn vertically.
  2. If the Cambridge professors were right, the skirt and the weight of water would hold it in place.
  3. Traditional moorings could be added if required.
  4. No heavy lifts are performed at sea.
  5. The concept would surely work for a floating turbine as well.

But then what do I know?

I was just a twenty-five year old engineer, mathematician and computer programmer, who did a few calculations and a dynamic simulation fifty years ago.

October 22, 2022 Posted by | Design, Energy | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Full Story Of Hywind Scotland – World’s First Floating Wind Farm

The title of this post, is the same as that of a YouTube video.

I’m posting this, as I spent an enjoyable few months, doing simulations for a similar structure from a company called Balaena Structures, that had been founded by two engineering professors from Cambridge University.

Their structure was to be used as an oil or gas platform.

  • It would have been built horizontally in a dock, where you might build supertankers.
  • It would have been launched and then erected to a vertical position.
  • Equipment would then have been craned on top.
  • The professors also talked of it being held in place by means of the gumboot principle and the large weight.
  • It was also designed to be reusable.

Sadly, they never sold an example.

I said more about my involvement with Balaena Structures in Are Floating Wind Farms The Future?.

 

October 2, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , | Leave a comment

Ørsted Signs Two ‘Industry First’ Monopile Contracts For Hornsea 3 Foundations

The title of this post, is the same as that of this press release from Ørsted.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Ørsted, the world’s most sustainable energy company, has signed two ‘industry first’ contracts for the fabrication of XXL monopile foundations for the Hornsea 3 offshore wind farm.

I have a few thoughts about the press release.

XXL Monopile Foundations

These four paragraphs describe Hornsea 3’s XXL monopile foundations.

Subject to Ørsted taking a Final Investment Decision on Hornsea 3, the contracts have been finalised with Haizea Wind Group, through its subsidiary Haizea Bilbao, and SeAH Wind Limited, a UK-based subsidiary of SeAH Steel Holdings (SeAH).

Ørsted will be the first major customer at SeAH Wind’s new monopile facility in Teesside, and the agreement with Haizea marks the company’s first XXL monopile contract with Ørsted.

The deal with SeAH represents the single largest offshore wind foundations contract secured by any UK company. Haizea’s agreement is the largest single contract ever secured by Haizea Wind Group.

Each of the huge foundation structures for Hornsea 3 will weigh between 1,300 and 2,400 tonnes and measure in at between 83 and 111 metres in length. Monopile production is expected to start in 2024.

Note

  1. These are huge steel structures.
  2. But then the water depth appears to be between 36 and 73 metres.
  3. It looks like the orders are shared between Spanish and Korean companies

This article on offshoreWIND.biz, is entitled Beyond XXL – Slim Monopiles For Deep-Water Wind Farms.

These are some points from the article.

  • XXL-Monopiles have been successfully used for water depths of up to 40 metres. Now wind farm developers need monopiles “beyond XXL”.
  • The extension of the range is needed, mainly to enable the use of larger turbines, deeper water, and harsher environmental situations.
  • These monopiles will allow turbines of up to 15 megawatts with rotor diameters of up to 230 metres.
  • This monopile design automatically induces the idea of design and fabrication optimisation to ensure that monopiles continue to lead the ranking of most economical foundation systems.

In the 1970s, I was involved with a Cambridge University spin-out company called Balaena Structures, who were using similar much larger structures to support oil and gas production platforms.

I was just doing calculations, but I do wonder if these XXL monopile foundations, owe things in their design to work done by structural engineers, like those I met at Cambridge fifty years ago.

 

October 2, 2022 Posted by | Design, Energy | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dublin Energy Start-up Targets $2 trillion Offshore Wind Sector

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Irish Times.

The article gives a few clues, as to what Gazelle Wind Power are about.

This is the sub-title.

Gazelle Wind Power raises $4m to develop its hybrid floating offshore wind platform

What is a hybrid floating offshore wind platform?

I have form in the subject of large floating structures, as I did the calculations for a Cambridge-based company called Balaena Structures, that was proposing floating oil production platforms.

The company failed and I got paid, but their ideas returned to obscurity.

However, from that brief interlude in my life, I believe that there are innovative floating designs that could benefit the wind power industry.

This paragraph sums up the platform.

Overall the company estimates its solution costs half the price of other platforms to manufacture and 60 per cent less in terms of installation fees, while providing savings well above €1 million per megawatt.

I’ll go along with that, as the Balaena was very affordable and very stable.

The company has also recruited some powerful advisors, as this paragraph shows.

Gazelle recently named an elite group of energy industry veterans to its board of directors that includes Dr Javier Cavada, chief executive of Highview Power, Pierpaolo Mazza, a former general sales manager at GE Power, and Connie Hedegaard, former minister of environment to Denmark.

I have a feeling Gazelle Wind Power could be on to something.

Does the presence of the chief executive of Highview Power mean they are developing a floating platform with energy storage?

I remember that Balaena’s platform was very stable and as it was for oil and gas production, it had plenty of processing equipment on top.

Certainly, a wind turbine in the megawatt range with power storage would be a useful system.

August 11, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , | 5 Comments

Are Floating Wind Farms The Future?

Boris Johnson obviously thinks so, as he said this about floating wind farms at the on-line Tory conference today.

We will invest £160m in ports and factories across the country, to manufacture the next generation of turbines.

And we will not only build fixed arrays in the sea; we will build windmills that float on the sea – enough to deliver one gigawatt of energy by 2030, 15 times floating windmills, fifteen times as much as the rest of the world put together.

Far out in the deepest waters we will harvest the gusts, and by upgrading infrastructure in such places as Teesside and Humber and Scotland and Wales we will increase an offshore wind capacity that is already the biggest in the world.

Just because Boris said it, there is a large amount of comment on the Internet, describing everything he said and floating wind turbines as utter crap.

Wikipedia

The Wikipedia entry for floating wind turbines is particularly informative and gives details on their history, economics and deployment.

This is a paragraph from the Wikipedia entry.

Hywind Scotland has 5 floating turbines with a total capacity of 30 MW, and operated since 2017. Japan has 4 floating turbines with a combined 16 MW capacity.

Wikipedia also has an entry for Hywind Scotland, which starts with this sentence.

Hywind Scotland is the world’s first commercial wind farm using floating wind turbines, situated 29 kilometres (18 mi) off Peterhead, Scotland. The farm has five 6 MW Hywind floating turbines with a total capacity of 30 MW. It is operated by Hywind (Scotland) Limited, a joint venture of Equinor (75%) and Masdar (25%)

Wikipedia, also says this about the performance of Hywind Scotland.

In its first two years of operation the facility has averaged a capacity factor in excess of 50%.

That is good performance for a wind farm.

Hywind

There is more about Hywind on this page of the Equinor web site, which is entitled How Hywind Works.

This is the opening paragraph.

Hywind is a floating wind turbine design based on a single floating cylindrical spar buoy moored by cables or chains to the sea bed. Its substructure is ballasted so that the entire construction floats upright. Hywind combines familiar technologies from the offshore and wind power industries into a new design.

I’ve also found this promotional video on the Equinor web site.

Note that Statoil; the Norwegian government’s state-owned oil company, was renamed Equinor in 2018.

Balaena Structures

In the early 1970s, I did a lot of work for a company called Time Sharing Ltd.

At one point, I ended up doing work for a company in Cambridge started by a couple of engineering professors at the University, which was called Balaena Structures.

They had designed a reusable oil platform, that was built horizontally and then floated out and turned vertically. They couldn’t work out how to do this and I built a mathematical model, which showed how it could be done.

This is said about how the Hywind turbines are fabricated.

Onshore assembly reduces time and risk of offshore operations. The substructures for Hywind Scotland were transported in a horizontal position to the onshore assembly site at Stord on the west coast of Norway. There, the giant spar-structures were filled with close to 8000 tonnes of seawater to make them stay upright. Finally, they were filled with around 5500 tonnes of solid ballast while pumping out approximately 5000 tonnes of seawater to maintain draft.

It sounds like Statoil and Equinor have followed the line of thinking, that I pursued with the Cambridge team.

My simulations of oil platforms, involved much larger structures and they had some other unique features, which I’m not going to put here, as someone might give me a nice sum for the information.

Sadly, in the end Balaena Structures failed.

I actually proposed using a Balaena as a wind power platform in Could a Balaena-Like Structure Be Used As a Wind Power Platform?, which I wrote in 2011.

I believe that their designs could have transformed the offshore oil industry and could have been used to control the Deepwater Horizon accident. I talked about this in The Balaena Lives, which again is from 2011.

Conclusion

It is my view, that floating wind farms are the future.

But then I’ve done the mathematics of these structures!

Did Boris’s advisors, as I doubt he knows the mathematics of oblique cylinders and how to solve simultaneous differential equations, do the mathematics or just read the brochures?

I will predict, that today’s structures will look primitive to some of those developed before 2030.

October 6, 2020 Posted by | Energy | , , , , | 2 Comments

Floating Wind Swells, Hydrogen On A High And Here Comes The 150-Hour ‘Aqueous Air’ Battery

The title of this post is the same as that of this weekly summary on Recharge.

There are three major stories.

Floating Wind Turbines

A lot more floating wind turbines are under development, by the French, Swedes, South Africans and Japanese.

I do wonder, if these structures have borrowed the work done in Cambridge by Balaena Structures, for which I did the calculations, as I wrote about in The Balaena Lives.

From what I remember of my calculations fifty years ago, I suspect these floating turbines can be massive and places, in areas, where the winds are really strong.

I also believe that some could have built-in hydrogen generators and could be placed over depleted gas fields and connected to the existing gas pipes.

Hydrogen

The article describes how oil giants; BP and Shell are moving towards hydrogen.

Battery Storage

They also talk about Form Energy and their mysterious ‘aqueous air battery, which Recharge covered earlier. I discussed that article in The Mysterious 150-hour Battery That Can Guarantee Renewables Output During Extreme Weather.

Conclusion

This article is a must-read.

Recharge is also a site to follow, if you are interested in the developments in renewable energy.

May 18, 2020 Posted by | World | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scotland’s Floating Wind Farm

This article on the BBC is entitled World’s first floating wind farm emerges off coast of Scotland.

In the early 1970s, I worked on a unique concept for a reusable oil platform called a Balaena.

I wrote about using a Balaena for a wind turbine in Could a Balaena-Like Structure Be Used As a Wind Power Platform?.

There is also a brief description of the idea in The Balaena Lives.

I have a strong feeling that revisiting all of the work done for a Balaena over forty years ago, could enable a better way to build a floating wind farm.

I would build my Baleana-based floating wind-power turbine like this.

  • A steel cylinder is built, which will form the tower, horizontally in a dry dock.
  • It is floated out horizontally to some very deep water perhaps in a fjord.
  • It is then raised to a vertical position by letting a calculated amount of sea water into the tank.
  • It will float vertically, if the weight profile is right and by adjusting water levels in the tank, the top can be raised on lowered.
  • The tower is adjusted to a convenient height and the turbine is placed on the top.
  • It would then be towed vertically into position.

Note that Balaenas were designed to sit on the sea-bed using a skirt and a gum-boot principle to hold them to the bottom, with extra anchors and steel ropes.

 

July 24, 2017 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Rolls-Royce Move Into Tidal Power

It is being reported that Rolls-Royce has moved into tidal power generation after the acquisition of Tidal Generation Ltd. There are some details here.

I know I keep bringing the Balaena up on this blog. But this surely is another place where the technology could be used. An appropriately sized column-like Balaena could be an ideal mount for the turbine.

August 30, 2011 Posted by | Business, News | , , , | Leave a comment

Could a Balaena-Like Structure Be Used As a Wind Power Platform?

Last night I was watching reports on the BBC about the Ormonde Offshore Wind Farm.

Again, I can’t help thinking that a Balaena like structure could be used. It would be tall and thin and the wind-turbine could just be lifted onto the top.

It would be built in a shipyard horizontally and would have a steel tank at the bottom to give it stability.  As with the original Balaena weight and the gum-boot syndrome would keep it in place.

It would also be towed out horizontally and then upended by filling the tank.  I proved that this would work nearly forty years ago and I’m sure if you get the sizes right, it would be very stable. You then just lift the power unit on the top in the normal way.

But then I’m no structural engineer.  On the other I have a memory like an elephant and never forget anything useful.

Where is Buckminster Fuller when you need him?

August 16, 2011 Posted by | News | , , , | 3 Comments