Turbine trio to collaborate on standardisation

DENMARK: Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE), Vestas and its offshore joint venture MHI Vestas have joined a research project to examine the potential to standardise components and areas of the manufacturing process.

MHI Vestas, Siemens Gamesa and Vestas are looking at ways to standardise minor turbine processes
MHI Vestas, Siemens Gamesa and Vestas are looking at ways to standardise minor turbine processes

In an attempt to lower the levelised cost of energy (LCOE) of offshore wind, the three manufacturers have formed a list of areas where collaboration and standardisation could be found.

The so-called ‘Hot List’ includes: a common foundation interface, a common boat landing system, common local sourcing, like infrastructure or facilities, and common steel or flange sourcing.

The partners also suggest investigations into a common tower diameter and other standard internal tower requirements.

Elsewhere, it believes synergies could be found in crew transfer vessels and vessels access, a common solution for array cables and test plus and a common substation design.

There is also a list of O&M and decommissioning applications where the partners believe standards could be exploited.

They also offered a brief list on areas where they do not wish to find standards, including blades, the hub, nacelles, control software and installation above the top flange of the tower.

The collaboration project is being run in partnership with the Megavind research platform, according to the Danish Wind Industry Association (DWIA).

"The background to our desire for cooperation and more standardisation is that the price should fall, but also that the quality of components or systems should increase," said Per Hessellund Lauritsen, chairman of Megavind and research manager at SGRE.

The collaboration was launched at the WindEnergy Denmark conference.

"Basics of standardisation in the wind turbine industry are immature and, so far, only a few standardisation projects have been completed that have led to a final result, which can be used across industry," said Torben Hvid Larsen, CTO at MHI Vestas.

"It is important that we start small and get a series of small successes that we can develop into greater standardisation successes in the future," Larsen added.

According to DWIA, he also referred to the aircraft industry as one that has succeeded in large-scale standardisation

In January, SGRE and Vestas announced they were jointly looking for transport solutions using airships to transport larger components.

Per Fenger, CEO of lifting gear specialist Liftra, said some standard processes would increase competition.

"If we, as a supplier, can provide some standardised frames that three mill manufacturers agree, it allows us to spend extra effort on development while selling to three different companies. It's a way for us to compete against China," Fenger said.

Vestas senior specialist Agnar Gudmundsson added the project partners had agreed not to patent the standardised designs that arise from the collaboration. 

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