Vattenfall and Mammoet collaborate to develop new wind farm cranes

30 September 2022

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New climbing crane design offers CO2 savings, minimised community impact, and cost benefits and could bring a step-change in the way windfarms are built, claims Vattenfall.

European energy company Vattenfall has said developing ever-smarter ways of constructing its wind farms will be crucial for it to reduce the carbon footprint of its operations towards net zero and to deliver more renewable capacity.

It is currently collaborating with Netherlands-headquartered heavy lift and transport specialist Mammoet on the climbing crane concept for onshore wind farms. It believes the new crane design could unlock benefits for both the environment and local communities in the years ahead.

The climbing crane concept uses the turbine tower instead of the ground for support as it adds more sections in stages, with no limit on how high it can go.

Although it is still on the drawing board, progress to date has been encouraging and a Vattenfall team from its Business Unit Onshore Wind is now working with experts from heavy lifting specialist Mammoet on the next stage of the project with hopes the new technology could be seen on sites within the next few years.

For program manager Jelmer Boukes and his team at Vattenfall it would represent one of the biggest step-changes seen in wind farm construction for years, offering multiple benefits in terms of CO2 reduction, minimised impact on local communities and cost benefits.

“The climbing crane would be much smaller and easier to get to site, as well as to move to another location when it has completed a turbine,” Boukes says. “And with less civil infrastructure, noise and disruption for the local community would be minimised.”

Also, the climbing crane would be able to reach greater heights and operate in locations with up to 80 percent more wind, unlocking new complex and remote wind farm sites.

Significant CO2 savings possible

The reduction in transport activity around the building site due to the new crane, would reduce the carbon footprint of construction and impact on the local community.

There would also be direct benefits in the operation of the crane itself. Due to its much smaller engine and capacity requirement, the crane could be powered by electricity instead of fossil fuels.

Eva Julius-Philipp, head of environment and sustainability wind at Vattenfall welcomes the new concept. “In total it is estimated that the new crane could significantly reduce transport and installation emissions during wind farm construction compared to standard methods,” she says. “It will help us take another important step towards Vattenfall’s goal of net zero emissions by 2040 for our operations.”