Wind energy is world wide a rapid growing segment within the energy sector and the most important challenges for the wind turbine manufacturers are linked to the development of larger and more effective wind turbines. Cast iron is today used in central parts of a wind turbine construction, one example being the enormous hub that can be as heavy as 25 ton. The specifications and requirements applied for the cast iron components are among the most stringent used within the iron foundry branch. For this reason there are just a few iron foundries world wide that are able to cast the required high quality cast iron components.
In the four year lasting user-driven research based innovation project (BIP) FeVIND, launched in 2007, end users/wind turbine manufacturers, Vestas Wind Systems A/S and Siemens Wind Power A/S, join forces with an iron foundry, Rolls-Royce Marine AS Foundry Bergen, raw material producers Elkem ASA and Tinfos Titan & Iron AS, as well as the R&D partners SINTEF and NTNU, to create a scientific lift in the production of cast iron components for wind turbines. The project is financially supported by the Norwegian Research Council (NRC) and shall secure development of competence and growth in a branch where Norwegian industry over a number of years has shown that they can be in the world wide competence front.
Focus is on foundry technology and fatigue design, with the overall goal to strengthen the participants international competitive power. The FeVIND project shall develop new knowledge built into new simulation tools and sub-routines, which will contribute to a more intelligent design and a reduction of todays oversized cast iron wind turbine components, new/improved materials and a more effective production in terms of lower wreckage and less post treatment.
Photo 1; Press photo Siemens, Photo 2 and 3 ; Courtesy of Vestas Wind Systems A/S