Smarter Bolt Tightening Operations For Offshore Wind Turbines
The Innovation Exchange programme is working alongside Scottish & Southern Electricity Renewables (SSER), the owner the Beatrice and Greater Gabbard offshore wind sites. SSER wishes to engage innovators to find solutions.
Successful applicants will be given an opportunity to pitch their innovation to SSER. Selected solution(s) may be trialled at SSER sites, with the possibility of further adoption if trials are successful.
SSER is a leading developer and operator of renewable energy across the UK and Ireland, with a portfolio of around 4GW of onshore wind, offshore wind and hydro. SSER has the largest offshore wind development pipeline in the UK and Ireland at over 6GW and has an onshore wind pipeline across both markets in excess of 1GW.
During installation of an offshore wind turbine, upwards of 1000 bolts are used to secure its components in place. On operational wind turbines, approximately 10% of bolts at key bolted connections are checked annually to monitor for loss of tension. These checks require hydraulic tensioning/torque tools which are heavy and cumbersome to use, posing manual handling risks for personnel. Work locations also have access challenges including the need for marine transfers, working at height, and working in confined spaces.
Bolt failures are not automatically detected on offshore wind turbines at SSER sites. In the event of a bolt failure, all wind turbines affected by the bolt batch may have to be shut down until bolt checks can be completed or a root cause analysis is completed, this can also result in significant downtime.