Good winds for Basque wind turbine technology

The wind industry is facing a significant transformation in its paradigm that demands greater flexibility from component manufacturers to offer designs that not only meet quality and precision requirements but also have a high degree of modularity and are ready to be assembled into wind turbines. 

The Basque MODEOL project is being developed in this context, an initiative led by the Gipuzkoan manufacturer of high value-added bearings, LauLagun Bearings, with the participation of the IKERLAN technology centre.

This project, which is part of the Basque Government’s Hazitek Strategic R&D promotion programme, seeks to boost the transformation of Basque companies supplying wind turbine components to meet the challenges of the industry.

MODEOL, which is supported by the Energy Cluster, also brings together leading Basque companies from the wind turbine industry such as Hine Group, Erreka, Wec, Antec, Intza and Glual.

The main purpose of the project is to strengthen the position of these companies amid the revolution in the wind turbine industry, by adapting their designs and processes to offer not only quality components but also comprehensive modules ready to be assembled in the wind turbine.

Improved quality of services

Companies that are part of the project seek to improve the technological response and raise the quality of the services provided to their customers, by reducing the number of interactions and contacts between the agents dedicated to the manufacture of the components and the wind turbine manufacturers. This reduces logistics costs and simplifies the supply chain.

“The initial conclusions of the project, which has completed its second year of implementation and will run until the end of 2019, confirm the need for wind turbine manufacturers and suppliers to develop a modularisation strategy that guarantees rapid and ongoing innovation of the product cycle”, says the head of this initiative at IKERLAN, Iker Urresti. On the other hand, design capabilities and structural integration have been developed to be able to directly interact with manufacturers in the design phase of new wind turbines.

The technology centre is providing this project with the necessary knowledge in the field to calculate wind loads using aeroelastic models, its expertise in the design of components and modules and its know-how related to the analysis of structural reliability.

Meanwhile, the coordinator of the initiative at LauLagun, Aitor Zurutuza, states that “this project aims to develop better modular solutions to cover current needs in the industry”. As a result, the companies participating in the MODEOL project are considering modular concepts in their new platforms, which allows them to offer more alternatives by taking advantage of the standardisation of certain components.

Thanks to the modularisation strategy outlined in MODEOL, manufacturing, assembly and logistics costs will be reduced. In addition, an opportunity to optimise the entire module and not just each component will emerge.

The progress of the MODEOL project will be displayed at the next edition of the international Wind Europe Conference & Exhibition, which will be held in Bilbao from 2 to 4 April.

Within the framework of this forum, Zurutuza will address the progress of the initiative in the session “Next generation components for wind turbines”.