Posted by Richard Elins - 18 October, 2018
Master Builders Solutions is actively committed to sustainability in energy production. Combining more than 100 years of experience in the construction industry with exceptional innovation, our experts have developed performance grouting materials for the extreme conditions of offshore wind farm construction.
The construction of offshore wind farms is characterized by extremes. The sheer dimensions of wind turbines are staggering: currently under development, for instance, are wind turbines with a capacity of 12 MW or more. Such turbines have a potential to generate some 105 GWh annually, enough to supply 25,000 homes with electricity. Slightly less gigantic, its existing counterparts impose enormous structural forces on the turbine foundations during energy production while having to withstand extreme stress from wind and water impact. Conditions during offshore foundation installation bring their own inherent challenges, which our products have been purposely designed for, but it is also worth noting our refined supply chain of complex logistics to meet the dynamics of offshore project execution. Our track record shows we understand the demand of servicing the largest offshore construction projects.
Increased reliability at more a competitive price
It was around 2006 that Master Builders Solutions began development of specialized grouts for the secure installation of offshore wind turbines. “At the time, offshore wind farms were just beginning to be recognized as a commercially viable option, and there was only one supplier in the market for this kind of grouting material”, Luc Westhof, Master Builders Solutions wind-energy expert, recounts. “A contractor commissioned with turbine installation had contacted us, hoping to get a more competitive and reliable alternative product.” Recognizing the potential of the wind-energy sector, the challenge was set, and development of solutions that were to take wind-turbine grouting to a whole new level began.
Cost-effective cutting-edge technology
Since then, Master Builders Solutions has developed a whole range of what has become known as Exagrouts, the best-in-class grouts available in the market. “In doing so, we have responded to an industry need”, Westhof says. This response is highly evident in the novel properties provided by the grouts from Master Builders Solutions – properties which, among other benefits, serve to reduce installation costs as well as maintenance costs across the entire life cycle of the windfarm. Rapid strength build-up in MasterFlow Wind Turbine Grouts, for instance, accelerates the installation process – wind farms become operational sooner, which, in turn, increases productivity and cost-effectiveness. Moreover, the Master Builders Solutions experts have been working on ways to reduce the cost involved in various aspects of the installation process: installation in shorter weather windows allows early completion of the foundation contract, while cost-reducing bulk-supplied products installed using continuous mixing and pumping, for instance, save time during application, reduce warehousing and material wastage, resulting in significant cost reduction across an offshore wind project.
Security and durability
Essential in all wind power projects is long-term operational security. The safe and durable installation and operation of any such facility crucially depends on their correct design and smooth interaction of all components. Throughout, MasterFlow Exagrouts make vital contributions here: with a quick strength build-up even at low temperatures around 0 °C and the resulting extended installation timeframe, MasterFlow Exagrouts also have the capability to absorb high wind loads from all directions as well as vibrations, undulations, and extreme changes in temperature; they also are extremely fatigue resistant. MasterFlow Exagrouts are minutely adjusted to the requirements of the offshore wind-energy sector and through the secure grouting of the turbine tower to its foundation greatly facilitate long-term, maintenance-free operation.
Quality and know-how to minimize risk
“With our specialist Wind Turbine Grouts and our expertise we can contribute significantly to reducing the substantial risks involved in the installation of offshore wind turbines”, Westhof stresses. “Formulation of our Exagrouts is guided by the highest quality standards, using Master Builder Solutions’ innovative chemistry as well as nanotechnology and cement technologies. Our solutions come complete with the relevant DNV GL certificates and independent documentation of material properties. Another component of quality assurance at Master Builders Solutions is the comprehensive training of our Licensed Contractors, ensuring professional application even in the most demanding environments.”
Contributing to sustainability
Now used in offshore wind farms on all continents for wind turbines from all major manufacturers, it has not taken long for Exagrouts from Master Builders Solutions to become a mainstay for the offshore wind-energy sector. An accomplishment and a solid foundation that will now drive further development, Westhof says: “We have several R&D projects and innovations in the pipeline that further answer the growing and changing requirements of the industry. Our goal is to develop and offer materials that contribute to a sustainable and cost-effective energy production.”