3 minute read - 11th October 2023
Houghton Int’l invests in new wind turbine repair facility
Electromechanical engineering firm Houghton International is investing in a new dedicated 20,000 sq ft wind turbine repair and life-extension facility within its existing site in Newcastle. The project is expected to be complete by the end of 2023.
The company recently completed a repair and life-extension project on an Enercon direct drive wind turbine in the Faroe Islands – its second successful project on such equipment – and says it expects a large upturn in demand for its unique services in the coming years, driven by the world’s need to generate clean energy and reduce the length of outages experienced by wind farm owners and operators when their turbines fail.
Houghton International is the world’s only company offering a direct drive wind turbine repair and life-extension service other than their original manufacturers, given the complexity of the engineering challenge to do so, alongside the need for specialist facilities.
Michael Mitten, CEO of Houghton International, said: “With this project we took a world-first even further. We were a subcontractor on our first Enercon turbine repair project, but with this one we were the primary contractor, leading the entire job: diagnosing the fault; specifying the solution which included a marked improvement in the generator’s insulation system and weather proofing from the original design; then managing safe dismantling and logistics; executing the whole repair and life extension project; as well as reinstalling and commissioning the unit. All under incredibly challenging conditions in the Faroe Island’s volatile weather environment.
“No other company in the world is offering a direct drive wind turbine repair and life-extension service, let alone primary project management. Our entire team, including our highly skilled subcontracted partners, really stepped up to the plate here, delivering huge value for our customer in a tight delivery window and incredibly challenging environment.”
Repairing and life-extending direct drive turbines, including upgrades to the original design, has taken roughly six months, which is far quicker than waiting for a new replacement that can take up to two years to be delivered. The new investment in creating a dedicated repair facility within the company’s existing Ronnie Mitten Works will reduce those lead times by roughly 20%, meaning asset owners can return their generators into service far quicker, generating clean energy and profits much faster.
Importantly, repairing rather than replacing is essentially a carbon neutral process, because all the original equipment is being reused, and what is not reused is fully recycled with only a small percentage of waste material, meaning far less energy is consumed and less harmful greenhouse gasses are produced via the repair process compared to manufacturing an entire new unit.