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Our knowledge is being put to the test out in the North Sea

In spring 2021, we published an article about how Armatec contributed its expertise in flow technology to the Dogger Bank Wind Farm. Now, the first propellers are spinning at full throttle in the fierce winds. Since there is an ongoing technology race within wind power that is only growing in scope, we thought it might be a good time to revisit the project.

World's largest offshore wind farm

Just over 74 miles off the east coast of England lies Dogger Bank. The area is a large sandbank in the North Sea, and the word "dogger" is an old Dutch word for a fishing boat.

Dogger Bank Wind Farm is a project that began in 2008 and now encompasses three areas: Dogger Bank A (1.2 GW), Dogger Bank B (1.2 GW), and Dogger Bank C (1.2 GW). The long distance to land ensures that the wind turbines do not risk obstructing anyone's view. At the same time, the water is shallow enough for the tower foundations to be anchored in a traditional manner. When the project is completed in 2026, it will be the world's largest offshore wind farm.

Over the years, more and more investors have joined the project. The goal is ambitious: to meet the electricity needs of six million British households from Dogger Bank Wind Farm. The calculation is based on a household electricity consumption of 2,900 kWh, 30 percent efficiency, and installed capacity of 3.6 GW. Each rotation of a propeller generates electricity for two days in a household.

Taller wind turbines mean higher demands

Like many high-tech industrial projects, ours is also surrounded by obstacles when it comes to revealing details. But broadly speaking, wind turbines are constantly growing in height to produce more electricity per unit. This places increasingly higher demands on the cooling of critical components.

At the turn of the millennium, the tallest turbines were 100 meters high and produced up to 2 MW. The equivalent figures today are 300 meters and 13-15 MW. To put the numbers into perspective: the Eiffel Tower is 300 meters tall. Those who have ridden the elevator all the way up and experienced the framework becoming sparse as the height increases know how dizzying 300 meters can be.

Tall wind turbines mean that wind cooling alone is not enough to dissipate the heat from generators and rectifiers at the top of the tower where the propeller is mounted. Liquid cooling via pumps and heat exchangers is necessary for the components to perform according to specification over time and without unnecessary downtime.

"For some time now, the propellers have been spinning at full speed out in the North Sea," says Adam Bratt, sales engineer in the industry at Armatec. "It's wonderful to know that our products are contributing to the production of clean energy. I hope that even more companies will recognize all that we can offer in terms of technical systems for the energy sector – for example, in wind power, wave power, and hydrogen."

Trend towards continued growth

According to the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA), 41.2 GW of wind power was installed worldwide during the first half of 2023. This is an increase of nearly 40 percent compared to 2022. There is now a total of 1,000 GW of installed wind power capacity. Looking at Sweden, wind power accounted for 33 TWh in 2022. This corresponds to an increase of about 20 percent from 2021.

Wind power is part of the future energy mix. At the same time, wind power requires willingness from investors and politicians, and expertise from technology-oriented consulting firms and entrepreneurs. Armatec is happy to contribute with experience and expertise in flow technology. Even though it's the wind that's supposed to do the job, sometimes it needs a little help from liquid-based systems.

Completion in 2026

Dogger Bank Wind Farm is being built in three stages of 1.2 GW each. When the facility is completed in 2026, it will cover five percent of the UK's electricity needs.