25th Oct 2021
Cambridge Vacuum Engineering secure OWGP funding for a ground-breaking advanced welding solution
Cambridge Vacuum Engineering secure Offshore Wind Growth Partnership funding for a ground-breaking advanced welding solution to support low-cost offshore wind tower manufacturing
- OWGP award £300k grant for the development of ground-breaking Ebflow electron beam welding technology
- Industrial partner Global Energy Group (GEG) will provide offshore wind sector expertise and a trials programme to qualify the technology with the aim of implementing it at their planned state-of-the-art tower manufacturing facility at the Port of Nigg in the Highlands of Scotland
- Ebflow has the potential to reduce welding time by 76%, cut electricity usage and reduce carbon emissions by 90%
The Offshore Wind Growth Partnership (OWGP) has awarded funding to Cambridge Vacuum Engineering (CVE), in the 2020 Development Grants Competition for the development of ground-breaking electron beam welding technology, Ebflow. As industrial partner, GEG will be supporting a trial programme and qualification of the technology for eventual use at their planned tower manufacturing facility.
The OWGP grant will facilitate the deployment of CVE’s welding technology for producing long seam and circumferential seam welds associated with offshore wind tower production.
GEG are advancing their plans to develop a next-generation tower manufacturing facility at the Port of Nigg. Participating in this project as an industry partner provides evidence of a UK route to market in offshore wind, paving the way for commercial introduction of Ebflow. High-productivity welding is a defining factor in influencing the economics of large-scale serial manufacturing.
Ebflow can be readily transported and operated on-site and applied to significantly larger structures than can be accommodated in a vacuum chamber. Ebflow brings all the advantages of electron beam welding to structures of unlimited size.
The technology is also strongly endorsed by SSE Renewables who are leading the current RapidWeld project in electron beam welding and facilitating a trial on the Dogger Bank Wind Farm, the world’s largest offshore wind farm. If successful this UK innovation will be a world-leading technology, with substantial benefits to UK energy consumers, UK offshore engineering, the associated offshore wind supply chain and the UK's high-value jobs market.
In addition to other competitive benefits the collaborative project between CVE and GEG has the potential to reduce welding times by over 75% while bringing down energy usage by and associated carbon emissions by over 90%.
Global Energy Group’s Director of Innovation, Steve Chisholm, commented: “GEG recognises that it can only maintain a position of international competitiveness through the
development and deployment of ground-breaking innovation. The application of electron beam welding to offshore wind tower production is truly transformational and has massive potential to improve productivity, reduce cost and dramatically lower carbon emissions.”
Cambridge Vacuum Engineering’s Managing Director, Bob Nicolson, commented: “Ebflow is a disruptive technology that has been in development for 10 years. It is a major breakthrough in thick section, large structure welding and it has applications in a wide range of industries. The OWGP grant, in conjunction with the RapidWeld project, has the potential to provide a significant step towards the Offshore Wind Sector Deal’s ambition of increasing the UK content of UK offshore wind farms to 60% by 2030. We are excited about the collaboration with GEG, who have demonstrated willingness to adopt new advanced manufacturing processes and are perfectly positioned to integrate this technology into their newly installed manufacturing set-up.”
OWGP Programme Director, Andy Macdonald, commented: ““OWGP is delighted to be supporting CVE’s development of electron beam welding for offshore wind monopiles and towers. It is essential that UK fabricators have early access to technology that can reduce costs and ensure quality for long-term competitiveness. As well as providing solutions to fabricators, this project will help CVE to develop new markets and increase sales in the offshore wind sector.”