Dutch wind turbine manufacturer Lagerwey is testing its new climbing wind turbine crane.
The company, based in Barneveld, the Netherlands, is targeting areas where space or other restrictions limit the construction of wind turbines, including dykes, mountain ridges, forests and marshland. In addition, the crane can operate in wind speeds of up to 15 metres a second.
The crane comprises a heavy duty climbing base, turntable and boom. It arrives on site on three standard articulated trucks and can be fully rigged and ready to go in around half a day. It is fully self-contained with its own integral power pack and hydraulics. The project begins with a relatively small All Terrain installing the first ring/base of the tower which on the larger Lagerway turbines is modular and made up of smaller steel segments which bolt together. The All Terrain then installs the climbing crane’s base on the tower base installs the boom, which is luffed hydraulically, and it’s ready to start work.
The climbing crane starts off by installing the next rings up, and then using its three climbing cylinders, raises itself up to the top of the level it has just installed clamps itself into place on the tower connection bands, before repeating the whole process. Once at full height it installs the nacelle/generator and then the blades, before climbing back down for removal.
The new crane has been developed by Henk Lagerweij, who claims to be the only wind turbine designer based in the Netherlands. Speaking of the project he said: “Wind turbines are continually getting bigger, heavier and taller. On the one hand, this enables us to create more energy with fewer wind turbines. On the other hand, it also means the price of building tall masts like these is constantly rising. The cranes capable of building tall wind turbines are scarce and expensive. They also take up a great deal of space on the building site or require vegetation to be removed. This gave me the idea for a crane, which ‘climbs’ together with the mast while constructing it.”
"We transport this crane on three regular trailers and erect it within half a day. The crane also only requires a small base. As a result, the costs involved in using our crane are much lower than for traditional cranes. The same crane can also be used for any necessary maintenance.”
The company built the first prototype earlier this year and has been testing it on the ground. It has now started tests on a real tower and if all goes well it will fully erect is first turbine in Eemshaven on the northern tip of the Netherlands, where the country’s highest wind turbine to date is being installed, a 4.0 to 4.5MW Lagerwey L136 turbine which is available with a hub height of up to 166 metres.
In order to see the crane in action check out the video below.