Simple wind turbine installation with telescopic tower

The five phases of Elican manufacture and deployment The five phases of Elican manufacture and deployment
Industry Database

The prototype of an expandable wind farm tower that is designed to significantly reduce installation costs is ready for installation offshore.

The Elican Project has been fully tank tested and the prototype has been built in Gran Canaria ready for installation at a site offshore in the Plocan area on the north east coast. This project has been developed by a Spanish-Dutch consortium called Esteyco and it is claimed that the innovative technology saves on both materials and installation costs.

Esteyco S.a.p. has been working with lifting specialists ALE B.v. to develop the telescopic wind turbine tower with financing from the EC Eurostars EE-ALE TWT project. The structure is fully constructed at an onshore site and then it is designed to be transported in a compact collapsed form which allows it to be expanded on-site, making it easier and simpler to install than traditional equivalents.

All of the turbine structure is constructed in concrete which means that assembly does not require the same specialised facilities that are required for steel. Concrete is also more durable in the marine environment and the full pre-assembly can be carried with the assistance of a heavy lift crane onshore. For installation on site the only requirement is for a vessel to tow the floating unit to the locality and all these factors go towards reducing the costs.

The tower has an expanded base that forms the gravity anchorage for the tower but it is constructed as a hollow unit to float before ballasting. The tower is cast in three sections that are telescopic with the turbine unit mounted on the inner top section. For the tow out an auxiliary floatation system is fitted around the lower section of the telescopic tower which gives the tower the required stability during the tow and during installation.

On arrival at the installation site the floatation unit is removed and ballasting of the base is started. This sinks to the seabed and then hydraulic jacks erect the telescopic sections which are securely bolted together once the tower is fully erected.

Esteyco’s Chief Technology Officer José Serna commented, ”The tower can save 35-40% of the substructure and installation costs of new offshore wind turbines, and these are roughly 50% of the cost of an offshore wind plant project.”

By Dag Pike

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