Rotork valve actuation supports innovative offshore wind farm technology


Rotork valve actuation supports innovative offshore wind farm technology

An offshore platform in the North Sea that is the first of its type to serve a power generating wind farm is home to fifty Rotork IQTPro intelligent electric valve actuators.

The Borwin Alpha platform is the first offshore installation designed to convert AC power into high voltage direct current (HVDC) for onward transmission. Built and designed by the Heerema Fabrication Group on behalf of ABB, the facility can transfer a power of 400MW at a bipolar voltage of 150kV. The converted current is carried by a 200 kilometre cable for onshore connection to the European power grid.

The BARD Offshore 1 wind farm that is served by the Borwin Alpha platform is situated 100 kilometres northwest of the German island of Borkum. Eighty wind turbines will be installed when the farm is completed in 2012. The 200 kilometre cable connection to the mainland is the longest in the world for an offshore wind farm, as well as the first to utilise HVDC transmission.

The majority of the Rotork IQTPro actuators are controlling the operation of butterfly valves in applications on the cooling system for the power conversion plant and the fuel systems for emergency generators. Some of the valves are installed within the platform superstructure whilst others are outside and exposed to the harsh North Sea environment. Reliable operation is enhanced by the double-sealed actuator enclosure design, combined with non-intrusive commissioning and data transfer technologies that permanently eliminate the need to remove any covers once the actuators are wired-up. Rotork IQTPro actuators also incorporate increased functionality features as standard for improved long term asset management. For example, an integral data logger stores historical operating data, including the sequence of valve torque profiles. This information can be downloaded and analysed with Rotork’s PC-based IQ-Insight software to establish predictive maintenance schedules or identify potential problems.