A GREEN REVOLUTION FOR TAIWAN
Development of a stacking frame system for 15 blades on deck
Taiwan is in the middle of a green energy revolution. The Formosa wind farms have placed the country at the centre of Asia’s growing offshore wind market and are playing a key role in realizing Taiwan’s green energy ambitions. In addition, the Yunlin offshore wind farm and the greater Changhua offshore wind farms are major milestones in Taiwan’s aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% in 2050 and increase the share of renewable energy in its power supply to 20% by 2025.
The Jumbo-SAL-Alliance went full steam ahead to support a greener future in Taiwan. The task of moving 75 8-MW SG 8.0-167 DD turbines and 225 blades from Cuxhaven (Germany), Esbjerg and Aalborg (Denmark) to Taichung (Taiwan) kept the type 176, type 171, type 116 and type 161B vessels busy for quite some time. “Having this many vessels involved was not even the most difficult part of this project,” explained Fabian Obert, Manager Chartering & Projects at Jumbo-SAL-Alliance. “Our main challenge was to develop a stacking frame system for the blades as they were not initially planned to be stacked by our client SGRE (Siemens Gamesa Renewables). Luckily, we had an amazing team of experts at our side from SAL Engineering.”
Let the stacking games begin
It was necessary to develop a new stacking system to fulfil the client’s needs and safely transport the blades to their final destinations. “We usually like to use a mezzanine deck as a solution for projects of this kind, but this time it did not create sufficient intake. The aim was to create an intake of 15 blades on deck while still being able to load and discharge the cargo with our own gear and without shore crane assistance,” said Jonas Wehling, Project Engineer & Naval Architect at SAL Engineering.
In the end, SAL Engineering developed a stacking frame system that perfectly meets the client’s demands, including conducting FEM (Finite Element Method) analyses of the SAL vessel weather decks and supervising the manufacturing of the stacking frames. “Last but not least, we also arranged the delivery of the finished frames into the port of loading in Aalborg, Denmark,” added Jonas Wehling.
Three in one
There was another more operational challenge involved in the project: Discharging operations took place at three different terminals in Taiwan, as the cargo counted units for different project sites. Fabian Obert emphasised: “Handling the blades, measuring 82.07 × 7.3 × 6.08 metres and weighing 44.3 tons each, was quite difficult, as we had to operate in heights of up to 24 metres above deck.” He continued: “We loaded and discharged the cargo with our own gear and cranes. As a result, the hook height maximum was reached for all blades in the top layer of the stacking frames. Keeping this in mind, we had all crew members participate in special working at heights training to ensure safety and efficiency.”
All blades were discharged using the vessel’s cranes in a tandem lift with extremely limited clearance between the blades. “We also had to modify our clients’ rigging arrangements to make it work as shorter rigging was required due to the limited hook height,” said Project Engineer, Jonas Wehling. He added: “The blades were lashed with standard lashing for the sea passage, but a careful weight spreading arrangement was needed on the weather deck to transfer loads from the blade stacks into the deck and hull.”
The first blades and nacelles safely arrived in their project ports in Taiwan and are waiting to be commissioned offshore at the Formosa, Yunlin and Greater Changhua project sites. The shipments will likely continue until mid-2022. “With this project, we once again saw that SAL Engineering will find just the right solution for even the most unique requests. Being part of these milestone projects makes us very proud, and we look forward to delivering logistics services for many more green projects to come,” Fabian Obert and Jonas Wehling agreed.