Industrialisation of Ebflow for Pressure Vessel Manufacture

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Fabrication of Micro Modular Reactors (MMR)

The ability to weld thick sections efficiently is critical to drive widespread deployment of cost-effective solutions to meet low-carbon energy needs. Thick section local vacuum electron beam welding is considered a key enabling technology in the serialised fabrication of micro modular reactors (MMR) and other large tubular structures.

CVE, TWI, and Cammell Laird have been working collaboratively for over three years to produce the UK’s first full-size MMR vessel segment.

Supported by Innovate UK, the EBManPower project has demonstrated a low cost and rapid manufacturing solution of thick section vessels for nuclear and other industries, using existing UK logistical and manufacturing capabilities. EBManPower focussed on using CVE’s Ebflow system, deployed at the Cammell Laird’s shipyard in Birkenhead, to demonstrate the viability of cost-effective MMR fabrication.

Electron beam welding has been used for the nuclear and aerospace industries for decades. This is the first time that a commercially available local vacuum EB system has been deployed in an industrial environment.

The EBManPower Project

EBManPower has:

  • Simplified both the manufacturing and qualification processes
  • Devised a near-net build approach, enabling large cost savings on materials through the use of rolled plates, suitable for nuclear and other vessel or tubular structures
  • Demonstrated a feasible manufacturing technique which is up to 95% faster than other welding methods, with no consumables, filler or fumes.
  • Significantly reduced health risks, labour and inspection costs of such fabrications, whilst offering much higher productivity.

This project has received funding from Innovate UK, grant agreement: 3534/104220. Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.

Demonstration Day

There will be a demonstration day held at TWI Ltd (10:00-14:30), followed by an optional visit to Cambridge Vacuum Engineering (14:30-17:00) to view the Ebflow system, on the 20th July 2021.

A maximum of 25 physically attending visitors can be accommodated at TWI. For those unable to attend, a live stream of the presentations will be offered.

The full agenda is as follows:

  • 10:00 – 12:30: Technical presentations
  • 12:30 – 14:00: Lunch and demonstrator viewing
  • 14:00 – 14:30: Presentation and closing remarks
  • 14:30 – 15:00: Travel to CVE (transport not provided)
  • 15:00 – 17:00: Equipment showcasing at CVE

 

Please register for the event on TWI’s website by following this link.

Chris Punshon Joins CVE as Head of New Energy Applications

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New Appointment

CVE is excited to announce the appointment of Chris Punshon as the Head of New Energy Applications at our head office in Cambridge.

Chris brings a wealth of experience and knowledge from the energy, power and renewables industries, which will be utilised to build on CVE’s existing zero-carbon project portfolio.

Chris’ career in engineering began in 1983, after graduating from the University of Sheffield with an honours degree in Metallurgy B.Met (hons). He then joined TWI Ltd, one of the foremost independent research and technology organisations where he worked for 38 years, starting as a Project Leader and leaving as Industry Group Manager Power and New Energy.

Towards Net-Zero Emissions

During his career, he has directed many ground-breaking research and development projects relating to welding and joining, material properties, and other advanced technologies; in collaboration with a wide range of clients and partners throughout key industries such as oil and gas, renewable energy and power generation.

With growing numbers of countries committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, new energy applications have never been more important.

As such, Chris’ role will focus on further commercialisation of Ebflow within applications such as offshore wind, pressure vessels (small- and micro-modular reactors SMR and MMRs), as well as hydrogen encapsulation and transportation.

Ebflow is a local vacuum power beam welding technology that brings all the advantages of electron beam and laser welding (productivity, repeatability, accuracy), to the fabrication of large structures of unlimited size, achieving high joint completion rates. Therefore, Chris will be at the forefront of developing its adoption within zero-carbon, new energy applications.

Engineering and Innovation

Chris is also a Chartered Engineer (CEng), a Professional Member of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (MIMMM), as well as a Fellow of The Welding Institute (FWeldI) – a testament to his experience, reputation, and contribution to the community of welding, joining, and allied technologies.

CVE would like to take this opportunity to welcome Chris to the organisation as we look forward to continuing CVE’s commitment to engineering and innovation together.

 

Dogger Bank Wind Farm to Pioneer Ebflow

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Ground Breaking Joint Effort: Dogger Bank Wind Farm to Pioneer Ebflow Technology

The developers of the world’s largest offshore wind farm will carry out the first large-scale pilot of Ebflow for the welding of monopiles, which will reduce welding times by as much as 80%.

CVE’s Ebflow technology is expected to be used at the Dogger Bank A phase of the wind farm, to fabricate welds on offshore wind foundation monopiles, reducing the time it takes to carry out the task from several hours to a matter of minutes.

It will be the first time that reduced pressure electron beam (RPEB) has been used on a large-scale offshore infrastructure project and will take place under a collaborative project named RapidWeld.

The RapidWeld Project

The RapidWeld project aims to create an industry-approved weld process for offshore wind, which is more productive and sustainable than established methods while reducing energy and material costs significantly.

The project team comprises of:

  • SSE Renewables, a leading developer, owner, and operator of renewable energy across the UK and Ireland
  • Sif, a global leading manufacturer of offshore foundations
  • TWI, the UK’s foremost welding research establishment
  • Cambridge Vacuum Engineering, the designer and manufacturer of Ebflow
How Ebflow Works

Ebflow is a reduced pressure electron beam (RPEB) technology that uses heat generated by a beam of high energy electrons to make a high strength and durable welded steel join, cleanly and efficiently.

Ebflow uses a local vacuum, allowing the system to be readily transported and operated on-site and applied to structures significantly larger than those that can be accommodated in a vacuum chamber.

Ebflow will streamline the fabrication process for offshore wind farms, further increasing the efficiency of large-scale projects and demonstrating increased cost-effectiveness of renewable energy for consumers.

Ebflow will also reduce the carbon emissions associated with the traditional welding methods by 90%.

The RapidWeld project is expected to develop methods that outstrip existing welding technology and reduce the costs of future offshore wind foundation monopiles by up to 20%.

Dogger Bank Wind Farm

A joint venture between SSE Renewables, Equinor and Eni, SSE Renewables is leading the construction and delivery of Dogger Bank, while Equinor will operate the wind farm on operation. When complete, Dogger Bank will be the largest offshore wind farm in the world.

 

Steve Wilson, SSE Renewables Project Director for Dogger Bank Wind Farm said:

“This is a ‘first-in-class’ project, establishing this UK innovation as world-leading technology. With monopile type foundations accounting for over 90% of foundations used in UK projects, Ebflow RPEB could realise significant cost savings on future projects.

“These substantial savings will not only benefit the UK offshore engineering industry but could be passed on to UK energy consumers.

“It’s exciting that Ebflow is being used at Dogger Bank – a project which continues to contribute to the UK economy by creating jobs and supporting to the supply chain. No doubt, other offshore projects across the world could ultimately benefit from what the RapidWeld partnership achieves.”

 

The project has been made possible with a smart grant of £600k from Innovate UK, which is part of the UK Government-backed Research and Innovation organisation.

Sif will be responsible for the fabrication and supply of 190 monopiles and primary steel for the transition pieces, as well as for the marshalling of all foundation components for the first two phases of Dogger Bank Wind Farm.

 

Chief Operating Officer for Sif, Frank Kevenaar said:

“We see great potential in the Ebflow RPEB welding process for thick section welding. Reduced distortion and elimination of filler material are, amongst others, great advantages. We are very pleased to have the opportunity to contribute to this innovative project that is joining forces and expertise to create new cost-effective production methods.”

Submerged Arc Welding vs Ebflow

Ebflow can reduce the time needed to weld a monopile by 95%, whilst being 94% more energy efficient, resulting in a 98% overall cost reduction – compared to traditional submerged arc welding (SAW) – based on a typical specification of a 60 metre long, 8 metre diameter monopile, with a wall thickness of 80mm.

 

 

View the full datasheet here or find out more about Ebflow here.

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