Offshore wind farm in the UK the first to experience the benefits of CarboCAT
CarboClyde is the first vessel in the world ideally suited to servicing offshore wind farms. Currently at work in the turbulent North Sea, CarboClyde utilizes the benefits of advanced carbon composites to create a solution that is more robust, efficient and safer than wind farm service vessels constructed from aluminium. It was crafted by CarboCAT – a Swedish shipyard that has introduced the unmatched benefits of carbon fibre to commercial shipbuilding.
Quickly and safely transferring personnel to turbines is perhaps the greatest challenge in servicing offshore wind farms. Creating a stable platform on an aluminium boat is hindered by weight restrictions since a vessel that is too heavy can damage wind turbines. As CarboClyde is constructed from lightweight carbon composites, it could be built bigger without putting turbines at risk. Thanks to this enhanced stability, transferring personnel is more efficient and the risk of accidents reduced.
“We were really excited about this project because we saw that our carbon composite technology could provide a major boost in safety and efficiency,” said Anders Ekstrand, Sales Manager of CarboCAT. “And since the wind farm industry is starting to boom, finding a better solution was critical.”
CarboClyde’s light weight has other advantages as well. It allows for more cargo and passenger capacity so more can be accomplished each trip out to sea. Being both light and strong allows for greater top speeds. And the reduced weight means less power is required to propel the vessel, creating 20% greater fuel efficiency than an aluminium equivalent.
The North Sea is an unforgiving environment. As such, robustness was a must for CarboClyde. Using tough carbon composites and a sandwich construction technique, CarboClyde is better able to withstand the elements than steel or aluminium. Its hull can take the constant grind of impacts over the long term and is invulnerable to rust and corrosion. Its sandwich construction reduces damage from impacts by absorbing the force locally to preserve structural integrity. This also means repairs are quick and simple as damage is contained in a small area.
Though carbon composites are new territory for service vessels, the shipbuilders behind CarboCAT have been using it to craft ships for 35 years. With CarboCAT, they are bringing their expertise in constructing state of the art naval ships to the commercial sector. CarboClyde is the first proof of the benefits of carbon composites in servicing wind farms.
“This technology and construction method holds tremendous potential for improving commercial enterprises,” said Ekstrand. “We started CarboCAT because we saw that this performance is going to be a necessity for businesses in the near future.”
Demands on vessel performance are swiftly changing. New safety regulations are being developed for the wind farm industry that will make greater stability a must. Environmental regulations will put new restrictions on CO2 emissions. And increasing competition will make efficient service more and more important. With CarboClyde, at least one wind farm is ready to meet these challenges.
Learn more about CarboCAT’s wind farm service vessels >>