This ‘spider’ crane enables an offshore wind turbine to virtually build itself


This ‘spider’ crane enables an offshore wind turbine to virtually build itself

Norway’s WindSpider has designed a lightweight crane system that builds offshore wind turbines virtually on its own once the tower is up.

The Norwegian startup is being taken very seriously – it’s part of the Energy Transition Norway cluster, and it’s been backed by German global energy company RWE since December 2022.

WindSpider announced a deal in early March with Leirvik Group, another Norwegian company that specializes in offshore aluminum structures. The partnership will enable WindSpider to build its “giant aluminum spider” cranes entirely from aluminum. And just because it will be light doesn’t mean it won’t be strong – it will have a lifting capacity of more than 1,500 metric tons for up to 20-megawatt (MW) turbines.

Once an offshore wind turbine’s tower is standing, the WindSpider crane is installed. The crane uses the tower as support to install other turbine components. Having the turbine tower as a support structure eliminates relative motion between the crane and the turbine.

Its Dolly Crane, which slides up and down the cage, will lift and position the nacelle components, and WindSpider has also designed a Blade Tool, which also travels up and down, keeping the blade steady while the root end is connected to the turbine’s hub.

Unlike conventional cranes, WindSpider’s self-erecting design has no weight or height limitations, so WindSpider says it will be robust in the most challenging and windy environments. It’s compatible with both fixed and floating wind turbines.

WindSpider says its crane could revolutionize the industry by reducing offshore wind costs by more than 50%. I’ll watch this space to see what comes next.

What do you think about the WindSpider crane? Let us know in the comments below.

Read more: South Fork Wind just became the US’s first complete utility-scale offshore wind farm

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