English - Nooteboom Giants on the Road Magazine English - Nr. 6 - 2019 | Page 38

GIANTS ON THE ROAD Transporting windturbines by sea ■  WEIGHT SAVING Wind turbines have become heavier during the last few years. A 7.5 MW version with a concrete/steel tower weighs approx. 6,000 tonnes. 2,500 tonnes are hidden in the foundation, the tower weighs 2,800 tonnes and the generator and rotor blades weigh almost 400 tonnes. Future towers will weigh less. Vestas is working on a prototype that is secured to the ground with cables from halfway up the tower. Modular construction or moving the generator to the bottom of the tower could lead to weight reductions. THE IMPLICATIONS FOR TRANSPORT COMPANIES Wind energy provides a growing share of our energy needs. But the most important step is still to come: a competitive cost price compared with Abnormal transport by rail and inland waterways ■   38 the power generated from fossil fuels. We are now making that step. In the last decade the cost of wind energy has decreased by more than 50% and it will come down even further. Transport companies and crane hire companies account for part of those lower costs. Transport costs will continue to be under pressure, as only a handful of European windmill producers can choose from the services of several hundreds of transport companies. The transport operator has several options to survive this fierce competition. The first one is to have a higher capacity utilisation for the specialised equipment that is needed for the transport of tower sections, the nacelle or the rotor blades. The second option is to use multifunctional equipment so that the trailer can be used in the wind industry as well as for other transports. The third – perhaps the most important – option is to use multimodal transport more often. Rotor blades up to approx. 70m are still transported over the road. 107m long rotor blades will be coming soon. For the time being these rotor blades are only used for offshore windmills. Long, wide and heavy transports are often easier to transport by water, subject to the height restrictions of the clearance under bridges. A German windmill manufacturer has recently experimented with a dolly underneath a self-supporting rotor blade. To put the rotor blades at an angle when negotiating tricky parts of the route will also be used more often. ALE has developed a new technology for the transport of very large loads over complicated routes: the Route Survey Tool. This tool provides a detailed electronic analysis of the route beforehand. The separate Driver Assist Tool offers the drivers the opportunity to prepare themselves for the route. In brief: windmills are getting bigger, but their transport has to become cheaper and more efficient. NOOTEBOOM Nooteboom began in 1990 as the first trailer producer with the development of special solutions for the transport of windmills. The Mega Windmill Transporter was a huge success for the transport of ■  The trend is higher capacities and longer wings, the longest ones are now 107m long