Speeding up onshore wind turbine installations with the uncompromising grouting solution: MasterFlow 9400
Posted by Vanja Landeck - 20 September, 2021
The demand for renewable energy has resulted in the rapid development of wind energy worldwide. In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, the wind industry recorded a record-breaking year in 2020 – global onshore wind capacity has quadrupled since 2009, reaching more than 700 gigawatts last year. Cleaner, greener transport has been a major driver in the adoption of renewable energy: in the European Union, 8.0% of the energy used for transport in 2018 was renewable, up from 7.1% in 2017, 3.9% in 2008, and 1.4% in 2004. This upward trend is only likely to continue, and the challenge is now for wind farms to keep pace.
So what is the impact of increasing demand on wind energy infrastructure as we move towards net zero? The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) estimates that we need to increase wind power three times faster over the next 10 years to stand a chance of meeting net zero by 2050. Onshore wind is already an established, mainstream energy source that competes on the same level as new coal and gas plants in terms of cost, often beating operating costs. Accelerating onshore wind energy deployment means more wind farms, larger turbines and a focus on optimizing wind-plant performance and whole-life considerations to avoid unnecessary maintenance and downtime.
Larger turbines, more stress
Today, hub heights and rotor diameters are well over 100m. Onshore, typical blades sizes range from 40-90m in length, with tower heights usually being around 150m. OEMs and operators are embracing the evolution of gigantic turbines: taller towers capture more energy, as winds generally increase at higher altitudes. Wind shear, or speed, also increases at higher heights, flowing more freely, with less friction surface from trees, buildings and mountains. Larger rotor diameters can capture more wind at lower wind speeds, too.
Compare these giant structures to the typical wind turbines of the 1990s, when hub heights and rotor diameters were around 30m – clearly, the already considerable physical load involved in installing and operating wind towers has increased significantly. As turbines become ‘supersized’, getting the grout right has never been more important!
Reliable grouts are a must
Wind turbines pose a unique challenge. Their safe, lasting installation is highly dependent on the design of and correct interaction between all components. Fixing the base of the wind tower requires a grout with high resistance to dynamic loads. As increased reliance on wind energy and larger turbine structures become the norm, Master Builders Solutions’ commitment to sustainability and innovation has driven the development and launch of the ultra-high strength grout for onshore steel towers: MasterFlow 9400.
MasterFlow 9400 comprises optimized, next-generation materials to provide mechanical properties that meet the requirements of the latest and future wind turbine installations. It overcomes the typical problems associated with onshore grouting, including cracking of the grout between the connection flange and the concrete foundation due to poor application and inappropriate material selection.
MasterFlow 9400 has been specially developed for grouting wind turbine installations that are installed using pre-stressing techniques, such as base plate grouting of onshore wind turbines. It promises long-term, maintenance-free durability while guaranteeing safer, faster and more profitable wind farm installation.
Where to use MasterFlow 9400
Robust and reliable MasterFlow 9400 is certified for use in fixing all steel towers, whether concrete foundations are of an above-plinth, shallow-trench or deep-trench design. It has been specially formulated for applications where shrinkage-compensating grout is required. When mixed with water, it is uniform, smooth, pumpable and features high initial and final strength properties.
- Ultra-high compressive strength greater than > C100/115, EN206’s highest class
- High initial strength (≥ 50 MPa at 24hrs at 20°C) and excellent strength development for quick removal of temporary supports and return to service
- Reduced dust for ease of handling
- Excellent fatigue resistance for long-term performance
- Free from segregation or shrinkage for consistent final physical performance and avoidance of blockages in the pumping system
MasterFlow 9400 can be applied in: above-plinth foundations, with consumption of around 0.8t of grout; shallow trench systems with a consumption of approximately 1-3t of grout; and deep trench systems, with a consumption of 4-12t of grout.
Work fast and minimize risk
In a growing wind industry where the pressure is on to install more wind turbines faster, MasterFlow 9400 rises to the challenge by facilitating rapid installation. Its high early strength (values of ≥ 50 MPa at 24 hours at 20°C) enables the fastest possible progress with the installation of sections, making it not only practical but profitable. As you would expect from a reliable and experienced partner like Master Builders Solutions, MasterFlow 9400 is a certified material that comes with the confidence of a safe, standardized design process.
Find out more about Master Builder Solutions’ MasterFlow 9400 ultra-high performance grout for onshore wind towers here.