Rigs report: EPC spending will rise 250% over 2020, says analyst

Three Ds for owner survival in tough offshore markets

Floating offshore wind ‘could be largest frontier’ for wind power in Asia Pacific

World’s largest 3D printer to cut wind turbine blade costs by half

Researchers believe a 3D printing solution could reduce lead times by at least six months and  development costs by 25-50% for wind turbine blades.

The University of Maine has been awarded a $2.8 million government grant to develop a 3D printing solution to create large, recyclable, segmented wind blade moulds.

In 2019, the university commissioned the largest polymer 3D printer in the world to compliment its wind blade testing facility – the second largest in the US.

Currently, moulds and tooling for large blades can cost more than $10 million while the moulds’ time to market of 16–20 months can stifle innovation, say researchers.

Currently, carbon fibre reinforced ABS(Acrylonitrile butadiene styren) thermoplastic feedstocks (widely used in large scale 3D printing) cost more than $11/kg The university intends to incorporate bio-based materials derived from wood, to reduce the cost of the feedstock to less than $4.4/kg.

The executive director of the university’s advanced structures and composites centre, Habib Dagher, said that the project could help drive sustainability.

She said that by combining “cutting-edge 3D printing manufacturing with bio-based feedstocks… [m]oulds produced using these materials can be ground up and reused in other moulds, making them a more sustainable solution.”

According to the university, such bio-based materials promise mechanical properties similar to aluminum at lower fabricated costs.

In addition to the $2.8 million grant from the US Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the university will collaborate with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), which recevied a $4 million award to better control mould surface temperatures.

Surface temperature control is a critical component of mould manufacturing and it is hoped that new ORNL technology enables robotic deposition of heating elements, reducing mould fabrication time and cost.

TPI Composites and Siemens Gamesa (SGRE) are partnering with the University of Maine on the project.

They claimed a successful demonstration project will put both SGRE and TPI on track to transition the additive manufacturing solution developed by the university into real-world applications.

Source: Windpower Monthly, 2021/1/29

Asian offshore wind market to match Europe within five years

Asian offshore wind capacity will grow sixfold to 52GW by 2025, according to new reasearch. China will continue to dominate, but foreign developers will drive major growth in Taiwan and Vietnam.

According to analysis compiled by Norwegian consultancy Rystad Energy, Asia has grown from practically zero offshore capacity in 2015 to more than 6GW today.

Fuelled by China’s growth, by 2025, the region’s installed capacity is expected to grow sixfold to 52GW — almost on a par with what Europe is expected to reached by then (see chart). At present,  China accounts for more than 94% of Asia’s current operational offshore wind capacity — 5.9GW of the 6.3GW total.

The remaining 6% of current operational offshore wind is found in Taiwan (128MW), Vietnam (105MW), South Korea (99MW) and Japan (56MW).

Chinese boom to beat tariff changes

The Chinese government is phasing out its offhore feed-in-tariff after 2021, which Rystad Energy believes will create a rush of large projects moving through the construction pipeline. For those that miss this deadline, the consultancy anticipates many developments will have already reached a critical point in the construction process and so will accept a slightly reduced feed-in-tariff. 

Under this scenario, Rystad Energy expects offshore wind development in China to continue rising substantially before slowing down in 2025. However, China will still lead the sector’s growth across Asia Pacific, although its share of installed capacity is forecast to decline from 94% to about 70%.

“Asia will provide substantial opportunities for international suppliers, but further down the road it could also signal stiffer global competition as local Asian players become seasoned in this new industry and start expanding beyond their home markets,” said Alexander Fløtre, Rystad Energy’s product manager for offshore wind.

In China, only Siemens Gamesa has managed to enter the market, if indirectly through a licensing agreement with Shanghai Electric, while Chinese turbine manufacturers such as MingYang and Goldwind dominate installations. 

Emerging markets

However, Taiwan and Vietnam are predicted to put forward “substantial volumes” of offshore capacity in the short to medium-term. According to the analysis, Taiwan’s offshore capacity is expected to ramp up significantly due to opportunities for non-Asian developers and suppliers. 

And by 2025, Vietnam is expected to reach around 6.1GW of capacity with the lion’s share (75%) coming from intertidal projects — wind farms that are offshore by definition but are located very close to shore and in shallow waters.

Source: WIND POWER, 2020/12/11

Shipyards tackle complicated conversions and vessel upgrades


A new concept of floating wind turbine allows the whole floating unit to weathercock to the wind direction thus potentially saving on costs and complexity.

The SelfAligner concept is based on a passive wind tracking system with the turbine connected to a turret buoy mooring, allowing the entire platform to rotate freely around the mooring point and has shown considerable promise during early tank test trials. An airfoil cross section shaped tower rather than a round one, provides the necessary forces for the alignment using the prevailing wind direction. The Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH) has investigated and optimised the concept for the self-aligning floating wind turbine platform, with the investigations carried out in cooperation with several scientific and industrial partners. GNING

“The nacelle of the wind turbine is mounted directly on the tower because no yaw bearing is required to allow the rotor mounting to turn. The rotor is arranged downwind behind the tower and due to the aerodynamic shape of the tower, its wind wake is reduced, which has a positive effect on the dynamic load on the rotor blades. “Thus, the blades experience a significantly lower impact load as they pass the tower,” a spokesperson from TUHH explained.

The semi-submersible structure of the platform that forms the floating section, can be installed in water depths of more than 40 metres, and its passive wind aligning is made possible through the profiled tower and downwind rotor configuration. The lightweight construction of the platform allows it to be constructed at conventional shipyards without modifications to the production facilities and it is claimed that this makes the concept cost-effective, according to TUHH. Also highlighted by the developers is the easy installation and removal of the floater due to its detachable single-point mooring, as well the SelfAligner’s reduced environmental impact.

The project partners include CRUSE Offshore, the TUHH with the Institute for Fluid Dynamics and Ship Theory and the Institute for Ship Structural Design and Analysis, DNV GL, Aerodyn, and Jörss-Blunck-Ordemann. For the investigations and optimisation, the project partners used resources such as the panMARE method from the Institute for Fluid Dynamics and Ship Theory, as well as a 1:45 scale model of the platform in a wave tank.

By Dag Pike

Source: MARITIME JOURNAL , 2020/11/27

Analysis lends weight to concerns about installation vessel shortfall

Marine robotics for offshore wind – nice to have or a necessity?

The appetite for increased automation and a reduced need for sending people offshore in offshore renewable energy operations is fast evolving, with trust in robotics systems increasing and the use of uncrewed vessels becoming commonplace.

The appetite for increased automation and a reduced need for sending people offshore in offshore renewable energy operations is fast evolving, with trust in robotics systems increasing and the use of uncrewed vessels becoming commonplace. The primary drivers for this are to improve health and safety and to reduce the cost of wind farm development and operations and maintenance (O&M) activity.

As the number and size of wind turbines increases and development sites move deeper offshore, O&M will become increasingly uncomfortable and more costly for humans to perform and so the benefits of using robotics and uncrewed systems (UxV) will increase.

According to research by ORE Catapult, the UK’s leading technology innovation and research centre for offshore renewable energy, integrating USVs into a 2GW cluster site could help reduce upfront capital costs by £7.5 million and cut annual operating expenditure by £850,000, or £21 million over a 25-year operating life. In a world where a global pandemic, such as we are experiencing, severely limits travel, the benefits of enabling more work to be done remotely, using UxV, are even greater. Furthermore, robotics systems could increase net capacity factors due to faster servicing.

Underwater robotics, such as remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) are already being used today on a routine basis and uncrewed surface vessels (USVs) and aerial drones (UAVs) are starting to be adopted.

For those in any doubt, it’s worth considering a world without UxV. Without them, the industry is reliant on fully crewed hydrographic survey ships for all initial survey and site characterisation operations. Without underwater robotics UXO surveys and remedial action has to be done using divers, dive support vessels and their crews. Sensors used to profile tidal currents and the sea-state have to be deployed and recovered every few months by crewed survey boats for the data to be analysed. In short, development projects will take longer and cost more.

The difference will be even greater in the O&M space, where there is so much more scope for UxV, especially as these activities continue to scale-up across the increasing gigawatts of capacity we have installed and due to be installed. A 500MW wind farm may require the operation of around seven crewed vessels, depending upon distance from shore, according to ORE Catapult research. Across all O&M spend, vessels and people make up 60 – 65% of costs, not to mention the associated carbon footprint. How much of that could be replaced with UxV operations?

How viable will it be to meet national targets for offshore wind buildout, such as the UK’s goal for 40GW of offshore wind by 2030, without UxV? The Global Wind Energy Council believes offshore wind capacity will reach more than 234GW by 2030, up from about 29GW at the end of 2019. The Ocean Renewable Energy Action Coalition, led by Ørsted and Equinor, is even more ambitious and believes 1,400GW by 2050, globally, is an achievable target. Can we do that without more UxV? And what does a robotics world in offshore wind look like?

There could be subsea vehicles that work out of seabed garages to carry out underwater inspections on demand in a repeatable, quantitative and qualitative way; USVs that deploy ROVs, AUVs and aerial inspection systems to carry out a majority of inspection requirements and a proportion of maintenance needs. USVs could support survey, site characterisation, UXO, construction, logistics, security and environmental monitoring. Some of these capabilities are already here and being deployed, especially around coastal survey and data harvesting. More is coming. In 2021, Ocean Infinity, with its Armada fleet, and Fugro with its SEA-KIT vessels, will bring the first USVs able to deploy ROV systems remotely in the field to market. More will come as confidence and functionality increase.

The challenge will be to make these systems robust, capable and reliable for long periods of time in what can be remote harsh environments. A large part of that challenge is about hardware. These will need to be robust, low-maintenance, electric, automated platforms. But they’ll also need remote control and a degree of autonomy (e.g. situational awareness and an ability to respond to their environment), which will increase over time, underpinned by excellent navigation capability, secure communications links for command and control, status updates, tracking and data transfer. This capability will also need to be extended to below the surface of the sea.

At the surface, Wifi, 4G/5G and satellite communications are now largely available in most operating regions, but interruptions are possible, so multiple sensors will be needed to underpin accurate navigation and control. Just as today’s autonomous cars need multiple sensor inputs (visual, GNSS, inertial measurement units (IMU), etc.) to make sure that if one goes awry the system can still navigate without risk of collision, uncrewed vessels will require the same, on and below the surface.

This requires instruments and data fusion, such as interfacing GNSS at the surface with, for example, subsea acoustic Doppler and inertial navigation systems. As well as being able to verify GNSS data, these systems can also act alone, supporting navigation even without a GNSS input – in a fjord, for example – but will also provide valuable underwater current profile data for both wind farm seabed and scour monitoring and subsea vehicle deployment. It’s potentially complex, but doesn’t have to be with single instruments, such as SPRINT-Nav, able to provide all of that subsea data input via only one interface. SPRINT-Nav has been tested in Navy trials, where precision is paramount, and it will be installed on USVs entering the market in coming months.

Simultaneous tracking, communicating with, command and control of multiple underwater robotics can also be taken care of with a single system, such as a robotics-enabled Ranger 2 Ultra-Short BaseLine (USBL) system, which can also support survey operations. Fitted with our Mini-Ranger 2 USBL system running our Robotics Pack, these USVs will enable users to deploy, track, command and control ROVs during inspection, survey and data harvesting projects, from onshore remote operations centres, unlocking real-time data upload and quality control.

These are well established, off the shelf technologies, with long and deep track records across multiple sectors. For example, Sonardyne instruments have been supporting nearly all of the leading USV manufacturers for more than a decade to perform operations from tectonic plate movement in deep water for ocean science to seismic surveys for oil and gas.

It’s also been supporting industry collaborative projects, such as the Autonomous Robotic Intervention System For Extreme Maritime Environments (ARISE) project, with ASV Ltd. (now part of L3 Harris). Its systems will be onboard robotic ships that enter the offshore renewables market in 2021.

Sonardyne’s latest projects include working with HydroSurv Unmanned Survey (UK) Ltd. to develop an environmental monitoring capability for the offshore renewable energy sector that will be demonstrated at Vattenfall’s European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) near Aberdeen. By combining new Sonardyne seafloor and vessel-mounted instruments with HydroSurv’s REAV-40 USV, the project will show how combined technologies can provide an end-to-end service for ’seabed data to desk’ without swamping communications bandwidth.

Undoubtedly, however, there will be challenges to fully adopting these new ways of working within the offshore wind sector. There is still a need for clear regulatory requirements surrounding the use of USVs around offshore wind assets, where they need to operate safely together with other marine traffic and operations. There will also be learnings around cyber and physical security, as USVs and their payloads go out into the open ocean. This is inevitable and needed. Like any new way of doing things, it’s about getting involved, deploying and learning how to make the best use of these new systems. In 10 years’ time, we’ll likely look back at the advances that have been made, just as the terrestrial robotics industry is now looking back at robotics that can backflip. It’s only a matter of time.

Source:Riviera, Nov 10, 2020

CMA CGM and MSC join TradeLens as foundation carriers

CMA CGM and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) have joined the Maersk/IBM created TradeLens blockchain platform as so-called foundation carriers.

“The addition of these two major global shipping leaders marks a crucial milestone for the industry, which until now has too often relied on paper-based trade and manual document handling that lead to increased costs and reduced business continuity,” Maersk stated in a release yesterday.

“Digitisation is a cornerstone of the CMA CGM Group’s strategy aimed at providing an end-to-end solution tailored to our customers’ needs. An industry-wide collaboration like this is truly unprecedented. Only by working together and agreeing to a shared set of standards and goals are we able to enact the digital transformation that is now touching nearly every part of the global shipping industry,” said Marc Bourdon, a senior vice president at CMA CGM.

TradeLens partners provided an update yesterday on developments at the blockchain platform over the last 12 months. An important milestone discussed was a 15-customer pilot involving more than 3,000 unique consignments, 100,000 events and 6,000 containers to ensure the TradeLens platform distributes and shares shipment data across various supply chains with speed and accuracy.

TradeLens members use the platform to connect within the ecosystem and share information needed for their shipments based on permissions, without sharing sensitive data.

Launched in 2018, the TradeLens ecosystem now includes more than 175 organisations – extending to more than 10 ocean carriers and encompassing data from more than 600 ports and terminals.

“TradeLens is an important initiative in the digitalisation of global shipping and logistics, with the potential to help carriers and their customers to increase transparency and reduce errors and delays, all at a crucial time when the industry is re-thinking and improving the resiliency of supply chains,” said Andre Simha, MSC’s global chief digital and information officer. “By completing the integration, we can now begin showing our customers and business partners how they can create and see value from the platform, and we hope that many of them will join it, creating an even larger and more beneficial ecosystem.”

As TradeLens scales up, other recent additions of new ports and terminals include the Commercial Port of Vladivostock, DP World, PT Salam Pacific Indonesia Lines (SPIL), Portbase, QTerminals and Hamad Port, SSA Marine’s Manzanillo International Terminal – Panama (MIT-Panama), Shipwaves, South Asia Gateway Terminals and Yilport Holding.

Source: Splash247.com, Oct 16, 2020