Houlder and BMT Nigel Gee have announced they have been awarded a contract from The Carbon Trust as one of the selected participants in the Offshore Wind Accelerator Access (OWA-A) Competition. The competition, backed by the Trust and eight leading wind farm developers, challenged industry to think beyond traditional approaches, to enable access to the turbine structures for engineering personnel and equipment in further offshore windfarms that are being developed.
The Houlder / BMT Nigel Gee team has been selected to develop the existing Turbine Access System (TAS)® design to extend the concept’s operability further offshore and into more onerous conditions.
The Turbine Access System (TAS)® is a lightweight motion compensated gangway that will provide safe and reliable access to turbine structures in seas of up to 2m significant wave height. The TAS is currently being fabricated and enhances safety by utilising a damped roller system which allows the vessel a degree of vertical movement at the foundation. It then executes crew transfer via a lightweight, motion compensated gangway. In contrast to other motion compensated systems, the TAS does not require dynamic positioning (DP) of the vessel and neither the TAS nor the vessel is connected to the turbine at any point. The First sale of the system, to operator Turbine Transfers Ltd, has recently been announced with sea trials expected before the end of the year.
Additional funding from the Carbon Trust enables Houlder and BMT Nigel Gee to develop a ‘Mark II’ concept and meet the challenges outlined by OWA-A programme. Specifically, this means providing operation and maintenance (O&M) access in seas of 3m significant wave height, as expected in the Mid-North Sea locations planned for future windfarm developments.
Rupert Hare, MD of Houlder said: “We are delighted that our commitment to helping windfarm developers overcome key challenges has been recognised and celebrated by this award. The Turbine Access System is a key project for both Houlder and BMT. It showcases our structural, mechanical, electrical and control system engineering skills in particular. The opportunity to continue to innovate and develop a solution for more onerous conditions is one we relish.”