Optimization of the Dismantling Process of Wind Turbine Blades from Offshore Wind Farms during Decommissioning
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The objective of this paper is to consider alternative approaches for the dismantling process of offshore wind turbine blades during the decommissioning process. This paper was developed as part of the EU-funded DecomTools project with the overall goal to reduce the decommissioning costs within the North Sea Region by 20 percent and the environmental footprint by 25 percent. Since the world wide first offshore wind farm went into operation in 1991, followed by exponential growth of wind farms, the industry will be confronted with a huge increase of decommissioning work within the next decades. To accomplish the goals set by DecomTools, two approaches have been considered within this paper. In a first step, a conceptual blade cutting tool has been designed. The idea of not loosen all high-tension bolts of the blade-to-hub connection manually, which can easily reach up to a number of approximately 20,000 (e.g. Sheringham Shoal wind farm), seems like a promising approach regarding cost, CO2, and time reduction. The application of such a cutting tool implies challenges of technical and environmental nature which have to be addressed by further projects. In a second step, the approach of simulating the decommissioning process has been considered. Computational simulation is already in many industrial sectors an indispensable tool with the goal to optimize a variety of operational parameters (e.g. costs, time, required personnel etc.). It can be assumed that with simulation it is possible to evaluate different decommissioning methods in a safe and costeffective way. The acquisition of reliable information as well as the huge amount of available input parameters will lead to very complex simulation models and can be seen as one of the main challenges within the simulation approach. Within this paper, a first conceptual simulation model has been developed with focus only on the dismantling process of the blades. This can significantly reduce the complexity of the simulation model. The outcome of this paper is based on extensive literature study and discussions with companies involved in offshore oil and gas decommissioning as well as the cutting and sectioning industry.
Maritime Operations, Offshore and Subsea Operations, Haugesund Western Norway University of Applied Sciences