Vestas, the Danish manufacturer of large-scale wind turbines, has developed a method to transport 55-meter-long blades by rail in Europe.
The “blade-by-train” transports in Europe, provided by SNCF Geodis, consist of nine blades for Vestas’ 3-megawatt wind turbines, which are made at a factory in Lauchhammer, Germany, and transported to the Danish port of Esbjerg. The trains measure nearly 700 meters long.
Vestas cited several logistics and environmental benefits for the rail transport of its wind turbine blades:
- Provides a cost-effective and environmental friendly alternative to trucks.
- Takes one locomotive 20 hours to transport nine 55-meter blades from Lauchhammer to Esbjerg. By road it would take nine trucks and 18 pilot cars 36 hours to cover the same distance.
- Rail transport of these blades in Europe is still in its infancy, but Vestas expects to reduce its landside transport costs by 10 to 15 percent compared to road transport.
- The decrease in carbon dioxide emissions is substantial. In this case, the main part of the route from Lauchhammer to Esbjerg is carried out on electrified railway.
“It has been a challenge to develop a viable concept for transporting blades of this size by rail in Europe, but well worth the effort,” said Mette Heileskov Bulow, transportation chief specialist at Vestas. “I’m confident we can expand the concept to other parts of the world where we are currently not using the railways.”
Going forward, SNCF Geodis and Vestas plan to design other rail connections between Vestas plants in Europe.