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Offshore environment

RD&I – Developments in the wind turbine sector

Innovative Business Network (IBN) explores the economic potential of offshore energy

Offshore energy is still a growth market with significant export potential for Belgian companies already active in the value chain, but it also faces numerous challenges. The complex nature of the sector requires a structured cluster approach, aimed at innovation, supported by mutual co-operation and by foreign stakeholders, in order to maximise the economic potential of offshore energy in Flanders. The Offshore Energy Innovative Business Network (IBN) offers content-oriented support to companies that currently market products and/or services – or wish to do so – to the offshore energy sector. This support is aimed at helping to set up innovative offshore wind, wave and tidal energy projects. Sirris is involved as the co-ordinator of the initiative and works in close co-operation with Ghent University, the VUB and Agoria. The IBN currently has 53 members.

Siemens Gamesa validates cold start of a wind turbine gearbox in a large climatic test chamber

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE) is a world leader in the development and production of multi-megawatt wind turbines for use on land or sea. The company aimed to guarantee reliable and robust machines, capable of fulfilling customer expectations worldwide, even in the harshest weather conditions (e.g. extreme winter locations). To set up and perform a series of extensive cold start tests on the gearbox, a critical wind turbine component, the company relied on Sirris’s expertise and the climatic test chamber infrastructure set up as part of the OWI-Lab project. The Sirris’s large climatic test chamber has been testing wind turbine components such as gearboxes for various (international) customers for more than five years. Components and new low-temperature lubricants have been successfully tested and validated in this fully operational set-up.

Cold start validation of transformer pumps for EFAFLU in the large climatic test chamber

The Portuguese supplier EFAFLU is fully committed to the development, production, sales, technical support and after-sales service of pumps, pump systems and fans. Their products are sold worldwide. In order to guarantee that components such as oil pumps for wind turbine transformers are able to sustain a cold start at remote locations under extreme climate conditions, EFAFLU commissioned testing by Sirris experts in the large climatic test chamber. The cold start tests are conducted in an EFAFLU test set-up at extremely low temperatures (-45 °C), made possible by this climatic test chamber. Two types of pumps were tested, five different models of these pumps were subjected to the tests. After each successful test, the company received a full report to provide to their clients with the corresponding pump documentation.