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DNV GL issues landmark study of R&D pathways for supersized wind turbine blades

DNV GL released an in-depth study, commissioned by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which examines the challenges associated with manufacturing and deploying next-generation,

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DNV GL issues landmark study of R&D pathways for supersized wind turbine blades
DNV GL issues landmark study of R&D pathways for supersized wind turbine blades. Image: Wikimedia/ Alexi Kostibas

DNV GL released an in-depth study, commissioned by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which examines the challenges associated with manufacturing and deploying next-generation, increasingly larger land-based wind turbines.

In the past decade, the U.S. wind energy industry has achieved significant improvements in energy production and cost efficiency, driven in part by increased turbine, blade, and tower size. However, the industry is quickly approaching a logistical cost and capability ceiling as turbine components become too large for existing infrastructure and transportation to accommodate.

Currently the largest blades deployed in the U.S. are 67 m, but blades up to 88.4 m—or almost as long as a football field—have been deployed in Europe; blades up to 115 m are on the horizon.

As turbine component sizes increase, logistical constraints can either reduce the number of developable sites or elevate costs, which can make some potential sites economically uncompetitive.

Finding new solutions to logistical challenges associated with ever-larger components can enable the wind industry to achieve optimal wind levelized cost of energy (LCOE) options for every region of the United States.

Innovation pathways for high-value R&D opportunities
DNV GL explored three innovation pathways to help identify high-value R&D opportunities:

  • Innovative transportation: To address physical constraints and challenges, new methods can facilitate the transportation of blades from factories to wind projects via road, rail, or air.
  • Segmented blades: Segmented or modular blades can enable the use of more cost-effective transportation, while capturing the impacts on blade design, manufacturing, and on-site assembly.
  • On-site manufacturing: Deploying a temporary blade manufacturing factory at the project site to fabricate blades from raw materials to finished product largely eliminates transportation challenges associated with longer blades.

“DNV GL identified a number of R&D activities that could make valuable contributions to the viable development of supersized blades. These recommendations are feeding into the U.S. Department of Energy-funded “Big Adaptive Rotor” project to ass ess and prioritize technology needed to develop a cost-competitive land-based 5-MW turbine with 100-meter-long blades,” said Ryan Wiser, senior scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Acceleration of R&D
The acceleration of R&D to make supersized blades feasible requires collaboration between researchers in the United States, turbine manufacturers, blade manufacturers, and transportation logistics companies.

Blades are the most critical component in determining the technical and economic performance of wind turbines. The logistics associated with supersized blades adds additional levels of complexity into the development process, which the industry and researchers must work collaboratively to address.

“To realize continued progress in making wind energy cost-competitive across all regions in the U.S., the wind industry must accelerate R&D in innovative approaches to blade design, manufacture and transportation,” said Richard S. Barnes, executive vice president, Energy North America at DNV GL. “The good news is that there appears to be fertile ground for R&D and accessible solutions on the near horizon.”

High-value R&D areas include:

  • Further advances in high-stiffness / low-cost materials like industrial carbon fiber and thermoplastics materials.
  • Advanced controls and sensor technologies that could be applied to monitor or enable blade bending in transport or monitor or control segmented blade loads such that lower-weight blades can be achieved.
  • Reducing the chord dimension of blades via blade/rotor aeroacoustics and leading-edge erosion to enable blades to operate at higher tip speed ratios and improve their transport potential.
  • Advanced aeroelastic modelling of dynamic stability and deflections can enable the development of more slender blades that can allow controlled deflection during transport.

The pathways identified by this study represent opportunities that, if realized, could significantly enable wide-scale deployment of supersized turbines across all regions of the United States.

For more detail on the innovation pathways, download our report: R&D Pathways for Supersized Wind Turbine Blades.

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BDP International enters US customs brokerage portfolio

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BDP International enters US customs brokerage portfolio. Image: Pixabay
BDP International enters US customs brokerage portfolio. Image: Pixabay
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BDP International, a leading privately owned global logistics and transportation solutions company has announced the acquisition of DJS International, a Dallas-based customs brokerage and freight forwarding company.

DJS provides customized logistics solutions to a diverse group of more than 800 long-tenured customers across all modes of transportation. As a proven leader in international trade, transportation and customs brokerage services, DJS will readily complement BDP’s diverse portfolio of logistics and global trade management solutions, with trade compliance and inbound logistics as key focus areas.

“The similarities between our two companies are astounding; both built from humble beginnings, family-owned and operated, strong customer relationships, and both expanding in prominence as major global players in the industry,” noted BDP Chairman & CEO, Rich Bolte. “Trade compliance continues to be filled with new complexities and challenges; it’s a major focus area for our customers and therefore it was a natural fit to extend our reach in this area of expertise. We’ve always had a significant presence in the US Gulf region but with DJS we can provide a wider array of specialized and customized solutions for our customers in this new normal world.”

DJS will operate as a subsidiary of BDP, guaranteeing access to BDP’s entire global network and portfolio of services. BDP and its partners will reap the benefits of DJS’s proven position as a leader in trade management. With this new partnership, BDP International and DJS customers can expect a unique service experience backed by a combined century of industry know-how, expertise, and experience.

“Our team at DJS is a family, and we pride ourselves on the notion of delivering service excellence to our customers – we adapt and fit to their ever-changing needs in this complex world,” noted David Meyer, DJS president and chief operating officer. “We wanted to partner with a company who had similar corporate values rooted in delivering service excellence and look forward to working with our 5000 new BDP family members while leveraging BDP’s technology, visibility, and global presence to continue helping our customers streamline and simplify their supply chains.”

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Parcel

NZ Post plans to invest close to $170 million on infrastructure – starting with a new Wellington ‘super’ depot for parcels

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NZ Post plans to invest close to $170 million on infrastructure - starting with a new Wellington ‘super’ depot for parcels. Image: Flickr/ 70_musclecar_RT+6
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The investment programme begins with construction of a new ‘super depot’ for parcels, in Grenada, Wellington. The programme also includes a new processing centre in Wiri, Auckland, due to open in 2023, and an upgrade to the Southern Operations Centre in Christchurch in 2022.

The Wellington super depot is due to open in 2022. NZ Post plans to invest around $18 million in the latest global technology that will sort and scan parcels at a much faster rate than what we have now.

“We know that customers really want complete visibility of where their parcel is at all times of its journey – and this technology will improve our ability to do this,” says NZ Post Chief Executive, David Walsh. “We’re making this multi million dollar investment to support New Zealand businesses – both growing new businesses as well as major ecommerce giants.

“NZ Post is forecasting significant growth in the amount New Zealanders will buy online in the next decade – this was before the explosion in online shopping during the COVID-19 period. Last year online shopping in New Zealand grew 13% with almost 50% of adult New Zealanders now shopping online, and we are expecting this growth to continue. We’re pleased to be able to invest confidently in our future, to meet the growth in online shopping.

“The depot will have a 10440 square metre processing floor – about the size of a rugby field – with plenty of room for processing New Zealanders’ parcels.

“We are proud to be contributing to the Wellington regional economy over the next two years, with the projects main contractors, Aspec Construction Wellington LTD, expecting to employ around 350 people through 60 sub-contractors on this project,” says Ash Pama, the property owners’ representative.

During the COVID lockdown period, NZ Post received over 3.5 million parcels in the first two weeks of Alert Level 3. It had been planning for this quantity of parcels in 2023.

Supporting our commitment to be carbon neutral from 2030, the Wellington super depot will incorporate a range of environmentally sustainable design features and has also been designed to accommodate a large solar power installation once battery technology makes this a viable option for our operation.

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Port of Long Beach sees cargo increase

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Port of Long Beach sees cargo increase. Port of Long Beach
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Cargo shipments rose at the Port of Long Beach in May as the economic effects of COVID-19 started to subside.

Dockworkers and terminal operators moved 628,205 twenty-foot equivalent units of container cargo last month, a 9.5% increase from May 2019. Imports grew 7.6% to 312,590 TEUs, while exports climbed 11.6% to 134,556 TEUs. Empty containers headed back overseas jumped 11.4% to 181,060 TEUs.

The Port has moved 2,830,855 TEUs during the first five months of 2020, 5.9% down from the same period in 2019.

“Our strong numbers reflect the efforts of our Business Recovery Task Force, which is setting the path for efficient cargo movement and growth,” said Mario Cordero, Executive Director of the Port of Long Beach. “Our focus on operational excellence and world-class customer service will continue as we prioritize our industry-leading infrastructure development projects.”

“We aren’t out of the woods, but this is the gradual growth we have anticipated as the United States starts to rebound from the devastating economic impacts of COVID-19 and the trade war with China,” said Long Beach Harbor Commission President Bonnie Lowenthal.

As part of its recovery efforts, the Port of Long Beach has activated an internal Business Recovery Task Force that works with customers, industry partners, labor and government agencies to ensure terminal and supply chain operations continue without disruption, along with expediting shipments of crucial personal protective equipment.

May marked the first month in 2020 that cargo shipments rose at the nation’s second-busiest port, and followed seven consecutive months of declines attributed to the U.S.-China trade dispute and the COVID-19 epidemic.

Manufacturing in China continues to rebound from the effects of COVID-19, while demand for furniture, digital products and home improvement goods is increasing in the United States.

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