Research and Development Of Engineering Machinery Required For Offshore Wind Farms

Engineering machinery is a good deal of what keeps a company running, and yet there is still a problem with engineering machinery that plagues most firms. While the first generation of mechanical, electrical and software designers created the technologies that made so many business enterprises profitable, the workforce of today is not as capable of creating new designs.

"Working in the energy systems engineering manager's office, we are faced with major challenges" said an engineer working in Europe. "The most critical challenges are in the areas of offshore wind farms, solar panel manufacturing and offshore wind farms. We currently need to find equipment, expertise and financial resources in order to move into these sectors."

Due to increasing environmental concerns, companies are becoming more selective about which fuels they use, while at the same time pursuing greater fossil fuel resources. There are two main approaches to choosing alternative energy sources. The first approach is to add the new technology to existing facilities.

To this end, one company is installing a new power plants in Africa and other emerging economies. The second approach is to build new energy plants that are planned or under construction.

The latter strategy may be better because there are additional resources in the form of plans, trained personnel and trained designs. Technology transfers are sometimes better, too, as many firms can afford to fund research and development on an as-needed basis.

In the case of engineering machinery, one company with expertise in offshore wind farms reported that their machines are up to five times faster than similar units. "Onshore wind farms have improved to be seven times the efficiency of old windmills. And offshore wind turbines are eight times more efficient than they were before."

The company further said, "We now have a life cycle analysis from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and our current models are increasing by about ten percent per year. And our clients are generally happy with the output.

"Other people's technology is being used on a small scale and finding the efficiencies is not as easy, but we believe there will be more and we think they will be able to compete with anything in the future." They are making "bridges between the two worlds and we are using the power of the wind to supplement our own," they said. One of their machines is expected to be generating electricity in New Zealand, so the team can move quickly to compete with others.

The company anticipates it will need considerable investment to design new equipment, train engineers and get them operating at full capacity. They will soon have a large production line for offshore wind turbines and with more engineers involved, the efficiency will increase dramatically.

Another type of engineering machinery, one that could offer alternative sources of energy and help create new designs is for offshore wind farms. A company in Australia has developed a propeller driven boat design that can manage speeds of 120 knots, which is much faster than traditional boats. They also now have prototypes that will be built using parts that are already available.

"There is a real urgency to develop new designs for offshore wind farms and if these engineering technologies are developed soon, then they will be available to companies all over the world," said a Dutch company in the water industry. "So the next time you hear of one company inventing a novel technology and another company coming up with a novel application, please remember that the solution is not just for one company, it is also for all of us."
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