James Fisher Renewables, the UK’s provider of marine services, has conducted an innovative trial of Ship-to-Turbine (STT), an oil change system set to significantly improve safety, efficiency and reduce down time in offshore wind turbine gearbox oil changes.
The company has successfully implemented an innovative oil transfer system for the direct extraction and refill of offshore wind gearbox oils from a conventional access vessel.
The trial was recently performed on an offshore wind farm off the Norfolk coast. James Fisher Renewables successfully demonstrated the STT system by completing the entire evacuation, flushing and re-fill of the gear oil system in less than four hours total pumping time per turbine. The STT system employs proven vacuum, preheating and filtration technology to transfer the oil from a self-contained deck-mounted unit, through umbilical hoses directly eliminating the need to fill and hoist containers via the nacelle crane. In comparison oil change operations undertaken in the traditional manual method can take in the region of two days.
Alan Heslop, Business Development Manager at James Fisher, commenting on the trial of the STT system, said: “The trial successfully demonstrated the innovative method of changing offshore turbine gearbox oil. We worked closely with our partner, Chemical Corporation, to adapt, marinise and develop their onshore Sage Oil Vac technology for offshore applications, creating a flexible system suitable for any oil volume and type.”
The company said that it is committed to continually develop and innovate to drive operational costs down at the same time as increasing efficiency and productivity and its STT system is likely to set a new benchmark for oil changes in the offshore renewables industry.
Ship-to-Turbine has the potential to revolutionise offshore oil change operations, whilst increasing the safety of technicians, reducing the risk of pollution and significantly increasing operational efficiency.
Press release, April 15, 2014; Image: James Fisher