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LV Shipping recently transported one of the world’s longest wind turbine blades from the USA to the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult’s test facility in Blyth, UK.

The prototype blade is one of the most innovative offshore wind turbine rotor blades in the world and was manufactured in the UK and USA, before being assembled at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.  Its modular assembly design is unique, which will enable larger, more effective turbines with reduced weight and higher performance.  The blade is now at the ORE Catapult facility in Blyth for a planned six month testing programme.

The blade’s shipping specifications:

Length

Width

Height

Weight

78.385 metres

4.30 metres

4.71 metres

30.3 tonnes

The first leg of the journey was by river barge from NASA’s facility to the port of New Orleans, where the blade was discharged by two crawler cranes onto the quayside.

The second leg was by ocean vessel from New Orleans to the port of Antwerp.  Firstly, the blade had to be repositioned from the point of discharge in New Orleans port to the new quayside location where the ocean vessel would be loaded.  This was accomplished by using two crawler cranes.  Then the blade was loaded on the deck of the vessel Rickmers New Orleans by using two of the vessel’s cranes, before setting sail for Antwerp.

The third leg of the journey was undertaken by a coaster vessel from Antwerp to the port of Blyth in Northumberland.  When the Rickmers New Orleans arrived in Antwerp, the Abis Calais was waiting and pulled alongside.  The blade was then lifted by the New Orleans’ own cranes directly onto the deck of the coaster.

The last leg of the journey was the shortest, but by no means less critical.  The blade was lifted from the deck of the Abis Calais by two mobile shore cranes in Blyth onto a waiting special extendable trailer, and once secured made the relatively short trip to the ORE Catapult testing facility.

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