Blade damage is a big concern for offshore wind farm Owner/Operators as it can reduce both blade efficiency and structural integrity. The cost of blade repairs and aerodynamic upgrades are significant, particularly offshore. Regular blade maintenance interventions are necessary to avoid catastrophic failures and significant loss of revenue generation. Repair of blade damage and/or installation of aerodynamic upgrades is currently performed using rope access technicians and access platforms suspended from the turbine nacelle. The length of turbine downtime, and hence lost energy production, using this approach is high and the quality of repairs are often difficult to manage in highly variable weather and working conditions.
This project will develop an innovative tower-mounted blade access system and habitat to provide a stable working environment for technicians undertaking blade maintenance. This approach will reduce downtime and increase the quality of blade repairs and upgrades.
Span Access will benefit commercially through the sale/rental of BASE units to blade maintenance providers. Span Access will partner with Turner Access and ICENI Marine Services to provide a turn-key solution for provision and deployment of BASE units for the offshore wind sector. Dundee University and Robert Gordon University will demonstrate the use of UK research expertise to contribute to the safe and effective design of offshore engineering industrial structures.
The Blade Access System and working Environment (BASE) project will contribute to a 0.6% reduction in the Levelised Cost of Energy (LCoE) of offshore wind by improving the quality of blade repairs and upgrades and reducing turbine downtime associated with blade maintenance.
The project commenced in December 2016, and is due to complete in March 2019.