A group of wind turbines in the same location used to produce electricity is called a wind farm, and they can consist of hundreds of individual wind turbines. Offshore wind farms are often built on the continental shelf to harvest wind energy and generate electricity, although they can also be constructed on inshore waters such as lakes.
They are a popular choice due to the higher wind speeds available offshore, resulting in more energy being generated. The winds offshore also tend to be steadier and more consistent than on land, providing a more reliable source of energy. Offshore winds are also often stronger in the afternoons, which is the time most energy is utilized.
In addition to increased energy generation, offshore wind farms also help to reduce greenhouse gases, air pollution, and energy imports, by acting as an alternative to fossil fuels. They also eliminate the need for new overland transmission lines in ‘power-hungry’ populations, which can cause a lot of disruption when being built in busy areas.
When building offshore wind farms, the energy sector encounters many challenges that can pose a risk to wind turbines. Exposure to salt water, strong winds, low temperatures, and powerful currents are all factors that can be harmful to wind farms. The use of the correct material is imperative to ensure safety, a longer lifetime, and reducing the overall risk of failure.
Offshore Steel from Masteel
When choosing offshore steel for structures, safety, reliability, and efficiency are factors that need to be considered. For example, larger steel plates are often used to reduce the need to weld, as the weld is commonly the weakest part of a structure and can be prone to cracks. Steel grades with higher toughness values are also often employed for offshore applications, as they are easier to fabricate.
Masteel is a supplier of a range of offshore steel grades that are suitable for use in wind farms. Our steels are supplied in accordance with the EN10225:2001 standard and the grades we supply are S355, S420, and S460.
The range of steel Masteel supply are further developments from the standard structural steels found abundantly. These offshore steels have high yield and tensile strengths and excellent weldability. The chemical compositions of these steels increase corrosion resistance against the harsh environments the wind turbines will experience.
Masteel supplies two grades of offshore steel that are regulated by the American Bureau of Shipbuilding (ABS); API 2H Grade 50 and API 2W Grade 50.
API 2H Grade 50 is a popular offshore steel as it possesses good impact and fatigue resistance. It is often found in tubular joints and stiffened plate construction. This grade also exhibits great vibration, fracture, and torque resistance.
API 2W Grade 50 also has good impact and fatigue resistance, but it also has superior strength and good toughness around the heat affected zone. It is often the more popular offshore steel of the two due to its lower carbon content.