Applications of Ballast in the Marine Renewable Energy Industry

Energy

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Ballasting solutions are of crucial importance for the performance of various offshore fixed and floating installations, operational in different industries (Oil & Gas, Marine Renewable Energy, Aquaculture…) The quality, design and material of the ballast ensure the optimal stability of the offshore installation.

Good ballast minimizes maintenance levels, is easy to install and protects from erosion in the severe environmental conditions by finally leading to significant cost savings.

Why Choosing Cast Iron?

As one of the European leaders in design, development and manufacture of ballast solutions, FMGC highly recommends the use of cast iron for offshore ballast solutions.

Thanks to its density, compacity and its impact on the size of the structures, combined with the easiest possible installation the FMGC ballast features the best possible characteristics of an excellent offshore product.

Furthermore, the solution doesn’t require any expensive coating or sacrificial anodes to handle abrasion and corrosion. The addition of a slight sacrificial allowance is sufficient. The research of In Vivo Environment (Marine Environment and Oceanographic Consultancy Services) has confirmed:

  • "Cast Iron corrosion is harmless for marine environment due to the low quantities of waste leached."
  • "The corrosion rate of cast iron is relatively low, around 0.25 millimeter per year."

 

Gravity base ballast, clump weights and protecting and ballasting shells are made of reliable and cost-effective material and feature a flexible design, depending on the client’s requirements.

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Gravity Base Ballast

Gravity-based structures are a quite common type of tidal turbine foundations, kept in place by the additional ballast. But they can also be used in the offshore wind industry . The ballast can stabilise as well specific offshore equipment such as connectors and/or dynamic cables of floating offshore wind installations. When these foundations are made of concrete, a massive supporting structure would be needed leading to high material and logistic costs.

On the contrary, cast iron is much more denser, stronger and harder than concrete and results into a cost-efficient solution, far less prone to impact and strains. Since this is a fast developing sector, all involved solutions should be dynamic and easily adaptable to the various designs. FMGC cast iron ballast can vary in shape and weight and can reach up to 20 tones.

Projects, equipped with FMGC gravity base ballast: 

 

Submarine Cables Protection

Since submarine cables are deployed in almost any single step of an offshore project, their protection is one of the most important requirements for sustainability.

FMGC protecting and ballasting shells made of cast iron are one of the most innovative and promising solutions right now at the market. They combine the protecting, the stabilizing and the bend restrictor aspects of the shells in only one product.

The solution is simple and robust and minimizes the difficulty level of handling during installation by improving workplace safety and decreasing installation costs. The cast iron shells can be used in the protection and ballasting of marine, oil and gas, submarine electricity transmissions and telecommunication cables.

Projects, equipped with FMGC protecting and ballasting shells:

 

Clump Weights

The clump weights are another ballast solution made of cast iron and especially designed to offset the vertical forces against the anchor and restrict the movements of an offshore wind floating structure or a floating oil and gas platform.

Ensuring the stability of floating platforms in a highly reliable and cost-effective way is a common challenge for the growing sector. If the offshore mooring is reliably designed and manufactured, the installation and maintenance of the entire device are significantly eased and the life-cycle cost of the configuration is improved.

Thanks to the high-density of the cast iron, and its compacity the solution allow to reach the weight needed to ensure the restoring forces without resort to longer mooring lines and additional connectors / tri plates. Clump weights significantly minimize the mooring footprint, delivering at the same time a highly robust and reliable solution, able to ensure the excursion zone of the floaters also in rough environment (as wind speed, turbulence, currents, waves, tides and others...).

Projects, equipped with FMGC Clump Weights:

 

FMGC is dedicated to the development of reliable offshore ballast solutions, helping professionals to overcome the challenges with greater safety and higher output at a reasonable cost.




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