Winter 2016

Flushing out oil change inefficiencies

James Fisher Marine Services kicks off the first Ship-to-Turbine contract in Belgian waters.

James Fisher Marine Services (JFMS) has met significant environmental concerns to conduct its first Ship-to-Turbine (STT) oil exchange at a large wind farm in Belgian waters.

Belgian authorities always had notoriously stringent environmental regulations, refusing to permit oil transfers at sea for fear of spillage. However, with JFMS's reassurance, the first STT transfer recently went ahead at Senvion's Thornton Bank wind farm.

Andy Nattrass, business development manager at JFMS who led the campaign says:

"It was our 169 year maritime track record and our significant experience of dealing with oil transfers in dangerous and difficult environments that gave confidence in our proposed solution."

Once permission was granted, JFMS operations and maintenance manager, Richard Hardman headed the first STT operation. He explained:

"A very small weather window meant only three turbines could be exchanged, but the team will return next year to complete more."

"Not only is it safe but STT offers wind farm operators massive cost reductions in terms of manpower, speed and flexibility which means it plays an essential role in optimising the portfolio performance of O&M projects, improving technician utilisation and reducing turbine down time to boost operational efficiency for our clients."

The contract comes as part of a new cooperation agreement with renewable energy specialist, Oil Management and Services GmbH to support the European offshore renewables industry's cost reduction initiative to reduce the cost of megawatt per hour for offshore wind.

Oil changing the old way...

Changing the gearbox oil in an offshore wind turbine every five years required a two-day shut down and a manual and labour-intensive process which put the gearbox at risk of contamination.

...and the new

A vessel fitted with the STT system hoists three hoses to the top of the turbine. One sucks out the old oil, another flushes the system and the third fills the gearbox with fresh oil in a process which takes 4-5 hours with no risk of contamination.

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