Fistuca Winner Offshore Wind Innovation Award 2018
Fistuca is the winner of both the jury and the public prize of the Offshore Wind Innovation Award 2018. With an innovative maintenance-free connection technology – the Blue Wedge Connection – the company convinced the jury and the audience that the current issues with bolted and grouted connections can be tackled.
The other finalists were TWD with the Hammock Seafastening and Qlayers with an automatic printing system. The Innovation Award is organised by the community of Offshore Wind Innovators with the purpose to create visibility of smart innovations by startups and SME companies. On 12 December, the three finalists pitched their innovation to an audience of offshore wind professionals who joined the Netherlands Offshore Wind Quarterly meeting of Van Oord and Siemens. In their eyes, with 51% of the votes, the solution of Fistuca has the most potential.
Earlier, an expert jury, consisting of Edwin van de Brug (Van Oord), Tim Raaijmakers (Deltares) and Caspar van der Geest (JBR) discussed the innovations and came to the same conclusion. They were impressed by the out-of-the-box concept and the potential impact on the offshore wind market. Fistuca has developed a wedge construction to connect wind turbine components like monopiles and transition pieces. The Blue Wedge Connection is not only faster and cheaper than bolted and grouted connections, thanks to the symmetrical distribution of forces, the connection is highly scalable and needs no maintenance. The jury recognises the issues with re-bolting programs and grout adjustments, which – sometimes unforeseen – lead to high maintenance costs. What appeals to the jury is that the Blue Wedge Connection aims for zero maintenance, reduces installation time and limits steel use.
The other finalists got a lot of credits as well. Qlayers developed an automatic coating system to apply the coating on turbine blades very accurately under controlled conditions, saving up to 50% of paint. Above all, the system checks and corrects itself. According to the jury, the innovation of QLayers addresses an essential issue to make coating of blades in serial production more efficient. The jury particularly appreciates the well-developed business model and regards the basic principle of reducing coating use under controlled conditions with smart feedback data, very promising.
TWD designed a hammock to transport monopiles to their destination. The Hammock Seafastening is suitable for different diameters and ensures a better load distribution on the monopile than a saddle construction. This allows contractors to re-use this sea fastening for several wind farms. In addition, they no longer have to worry about monopile damage. The beauty of this concept is in its simplicity, says the jury. The concept responds to the ever-changing sizes of monopiles and the current way-of-working of tailor-made steel constructions. The system is flexible and technically credible.