Novel Welding Technique to Debut at Dogger Bank

The developers of the 3.6 GW Dogger Bank, the world’s largest offshore wind farm, will carry out the first large-scale pilot of a new process that is expected to reduce welding times by as much as 80 per cent.

SSE Renewables

Ebflow Reduced Pressure Electron Beam (RPEB) welding is expected to be used at the 1.2 GW Dogger Bank A phase of the wind farm, to fabricate welds on offshore wind foundation monopiles, reducing the amount of time it takes to carry out the task from a number of hours to a matter of minutes, the developers said.

It will be the first time RPEB has been used on a large-scale offshore infrastructure project and has come about as part of a collaborative partnership named RapidWeld.

The Rapidweld project aims to create an industry-approved weld process for offshore wind which is more productive and sustainable than established methods, while reducing energy and material costs significantly.

The Ebflow technique is expected to streamline the fabrication process for offshore wind farms, further increasing the efficiency of large-scale projects and demonstrating increased cost-effectiveness of renewable energy for consumers.

Ebflow RPEB is also expected to reduce the carbon emissions associated with the traditional welding methods by 90 per cent.

Dogger Bank is a joint venture between SSE Renewables, Equinor, and Eni.

SSE Renewables is leading on the construction and delivery of Dogger Bank, while Equinor will operate the wind farm on completion. When complete, Dogger Bank will be the largest offshore wind farm in the world.

”This is a ‘first-in-class’ project, establishing this UK innovation as world-leading technology. With monopile type foundations accounting for over 90% of foundations used in UK projects, Ebflow RPEB could realise significant cost savings on future projects,” Steve Wilson, SSE Renewables Project Director for Dogger Bank Wind Farm, said.

”These substantial savings will not only benefit the UK offshore engineering industry but could be passed on to UK energy consumers. It’s exciting that Ebflow is being used at Dogger Bank – a project which continues to contribute to the UK economy by creating jobs and supporting the supply chain. No doubt, other offshore projects across the world could ultimately benefit from what the Rapidweld partnership achieves.”

The project has been made possible with a smart grant of GBP 600,000 from Innovate UK, which is part of the UK Government backed Research and Innovation organisation.

The RapidWeld project team comprises of SSE Renewables; Aquasium Technologies (trading as Cambridge Vacuum Engineering), the SME designer and manufacturer of the RPEB equipment; Sif; and, TWI, the UK’s welding research establishment.

Sif will be responsible for the fabrication and supply of 190 monopiles and primary steel for the transition pieces, as well as for the marshalling of all foundation components for the first two phases of Dogger Bank Wind Farm.

Chief Operating Officer for Sif, Frank Kevenaar, said: ”We see great potential in the Ebflow RPEB welding process for thick section welding. Reduced distortion and elimination of filler material are, amongst others, great advantages. We are very pleased to have the opportunity to contribute to this innovative project that is joining forces and expertise to create new cost-effective production methods.”

Source: SSE Renewables

Ebflow RPEB uses heat generated by a beam of high-energy electrons to make a high strength and durable welded steel join in a clean and efficient way, SSE Renewables said.

The Rapidweld project is expected to develop methods which outstrip existing welding technology and reduce the costs of future offshore wind foundation monopiles by up to 20 per cent.