Orangutan climbs high

ITI Energy has awarded three companies based in Scotland contracts to test a lifting device which could reduce the cost of wind turbine maintenance


ITI Energy has awarded three companies based in Scotland contracts to test and prototype Orangutan, a lifting device which could reduce the cost of wind turbine maintenance.



Renfrew-based Doosan Babcock Energy will provide materials testing and characterisation services to determine the performance of key components. Prospect Flow Solutions, an Aberdeen-based engineering consultancy, will model and test the structure to determine the maximum load that Orangutan can bear. Fife-based Burntisland Fabricators will build and host a full scale wind turbine tower test facility, including full-sized models of the key technology of the tower clamp.

ITI Energy is committing up to £2m to develop and test the prototype, which it says will move Orangutan from concept to feasibility and then on to commercialisation.

Wind farms are often sited on remote hilltop locations, and can be difficult and costly to access using cranes, which can damage the ground and access roads. This adds to the operating and maintenance (O&M) costs of wind farms, a major part of the cost of wind energy.

Orangutan is made up of two friction clamps connected by a hydraulic structure that enables a caterpillar-like motion. It works by climbing the wind turbine tower, carrying whatever tooling package is required for the maintenance operation, and can be operated remotely. This could contribute to lowering the O&M cost of wind energy.

The design concept for Orangutan was developed by Aberdeen-based Oreada, a private company created by the founders of Boreas Consultants and James Ingram.