Three ways Dyneema® SK78 is enabling sustainable rigging for US Offshore Wind Farms

A LinkedIn article previously published by Binay Patel, Business Development Manager, Americas.

The federal government's "30 by 30" goal of realizing 30 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030 has become a rallying cry for the budding US Offshore Wind industry. The tailwinds for offshore wind in the US remain strong. The Department of Energy expects energy demands to grow through 2050. And most of that demand is concentrated in population centers located primarily near coastal and Great Lake regions. It makes sense to localize energy generation to the areas that need it most. 

What about the potential headwinds? 

Building the infrastructure needed to install, operate, maintain, and decommission offshore wind farms remains a major challenge. The recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is a good starting point. It allocates $17 billion to modernize coastal ports. These upgraded ports will, in turn, need to be fed with materials, engineers, and maritime services to carry out portside and offshore operations. With extensive experience in Oil & Gas activities, onshore construction, and oversized load-hauling, the US rigging industry is ready to provide technical services for offshore wind farms. Still, one hurdle remains. Like most renewables, offshore wind comes with additional responsibility for delivering clean energy. 

How can the US rigging industry address the low carbon emissions expectations of offshore wind developers, owners, and, most importantly, consumers? 

At Dyneema®, we believe that the answer starts with sustainable rigging practices. Sustainable rigging prioritizes local content, minimizes carbon footprint, and leverages proven solutions.

Prioritizing Local Content

Ask any sourcing manager what kept them up at night in 2021? Containers, Containers, Containers. Since mid-pandemic, international supply chains have fractured due to demand and supply mismatches. To achieve "30 by 30", robust domestic supply chains can help US offshore wind projects mitigate international trade headaches. It is a strategy that has worked for the Oil & Gas industry, where Houston is a dedicated hub for the Gulf of Mexico. 

Over 20 years ago, DSM invested in local US manufacturing of Dyneema® fibers in Greenville, North Carolina. Since then, US-made Dyneema® fibers have helped developers shorten lead times throughout the country.  

Minimizing Carbon Footprint 

Shortening supply chains with local manufacturing reduces more than logistics headaches. Short distances also minimize carbon emissions from multiple transportation steps. Yet, just like in the electricity markets, curbing emissions doesn't stop with energy transmission. We must address generation as well.

That's why last year, DSM commercially launched bio-based Dyneema® fibers made from natural byproducts of the wood pulp industry. By utilizing bio-based feedstock, every ton of Dyneema® fiber reduces carbon emissions by five tCO2e compared to conventional Dyneema® and up to 29 tCO2e compared to other types of fibers. Per ton, those carbon reductions are equivalent to driving a sedan for nearly 73,000 miles!   

Leveraging Proven Solutions 

North America has a "second follower" advantage in offshore wind. Let's learn from previous experiences in Asia and Europe. The offshore wind industries are decades old in both regions, with many wind farms reaching their decommissioning phases. 

Around the world, Dyneema® SK78 has made complex rigging operations safer and more efficient. Last year, slings made with Dyneema® SK78 helped install 165 turbine foundations for the world's largest offshore wind farm, Hornsea Two (offshore UK). And, bio-based Dyneema® slings helped install 111 turbines and two substations for the Greater Changhua offshore wind farm (offshore Taiwan). Lastly, back in 2016, the nacelles for the nation's first offshore wind farm, Block Island, off the coast of Rhode Island, were installed with slings made with Dyneema® SK78. 

Sustainable rigging solutions can help the US offshore wind industry realize its growth expectations without sacrificing operational or environmental responsibilities. Let's not forget that "30 by 30" is just a steppingstone to "110 by 50" - reaching 110 GW of installed capacity by 2050. 

Binay Patel
Business Development Manager, Americas
DSM
Binay.Patel@dsm.com

Published on

09 February 2022

2 min

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