UK-based, OSBIT Power (OP) announced today it has begun offshore trials of its innovative offshore wind access system, MaXccess. OP has agreed with Siemens Wind Power and Statoil to conduct trials at Statoil’s Hywind demo floating wind turbine in Norway.
The MaXccess system has been developed by OP, with the first production MaXccess unit, MX11/01, being completed in summer 2011. Following an extensive review of offshore access solutions, Siemens Wind Power and Statoil have chosen to support trials of MaXccess believing it shows great potential to provide significant benefits to both safety and productivity of their offshore projects ‐ a safe step forwards in offshore access. OP will be outlining details of the development of MaXccess at Windpower Monthly’s Offshore Vessels and Access forum, in London tomorrow (6 March).
As the trend in offshore wind farms continues towards larger and more complex projects, located further from shore, in deeper waters, at sites which are exposed to severe sea and wind conditions, improvements in access are vital for continued project success. Lack of access due to weather delays has a direct effect on lost time during construction, and interruptions in service and maintenance activities. Most importantly, as projects become larger in scale and located at sites exposed to harsh wind and sea conditions, safety of personnel, can be greatly improved by the use of the MaXccess system.
Dr Tony Trapp established OP 18 months ago, with the aim of improving offshore technologies, particularly those related to wind. Rapidly establishing a team of experienced and creative engineers, OP set out to solve the ‘holy grail’ of safe, efficient and cost effective offshore access.
“There is huge need to reduce costs and increase safety in offshore wind projects,” explains Tony Trapp. “For the industry to have a viable future the current situation has to be improved. Transferring personnel is not only one of the most hazardous activities on a wind farm but also a major bottleneck due to the weather limits of current transfer technology. With MaXccess OP has created both a safer, more predictable means of transfer and a route to cost reduction through greater accessibility of turbines.”
The MaXccess system provides a stable platform from which personnel can transfer to and from the boat landing ladders mounted on turbine foundation structures. This stable platform is achieved through the elegant engineering solution OP has developed. A friction based clamp connects the vessel to one of the boat landing tubes by a carefully engineered, patented, linkage geometry that ensures that the bow of the vessel is held stationary while the vessel is allowed to roll, pitch and yaw freely.
Both Siemens Wind Power and Statoil have conducted a thorough review of the design and safety cases of MaXccess, and are now evaluating the system at the Hywind Demo in Norway. Siemens’ involvement is led by Andrew Stormonth‐Darling, Technical Project Manager: Service Offshore. Anders Wikborg, Marine Operations Manager, Offshore Wind Energy, is leading Statoil’s involvement.
MaXccess has been installed on the wind farm service vessel, Bayard 3 operated by Fred Olsen Windcarrier. A programme of trials to thoroughly test MaXccess in offshore conditions is now underway, being conducted from Statoil’s operations base at Skudeneshavn, Norway.
World Maritime News Staff, March 5, 2012; Image: OSBIT Power