Sredne-Nevsky Shipyard (SNSZ) is the leader of composite shipbuilding in Russia. Its production program includes patrol ships, missile boats (corvettes), work boats and passenger vessels. Despite its “shipbuilding” specialization, the company actively applies its experience in working with polymer composites in areas far from shipbuilding. The shipyard is involved in an international project to build an experimental thermonuclear reactor, is engaged in the construction of multipurpose prefabricated mobile bridges, makes efforts to develop ship fireproof doors and hatches, as well as marine fasteners made of composite materials and put them into large-scale production.
Since 2018, the company has been engaged in the largest project for the development of the wind power industry in Russia. The shipyard began manufacturing components for domestic wind farms. This is one of the innovative areas of activity where the shipyard applies its technologies and expertise in manufacturing complex structures from composite materials in the civilian sector of the economy.
The unique properties of composite and polymeric materials, such as high specific strength, resistance to vibration and environmental attack and low density, have led to their widespread use in aircraft, rocket and space, shipbuilding, oil refining and chemical industries. The wind power sector did not stand aside either.
Sredne-Nevsky Shipyard is one of the few enterprises in Russia that possesses technology, has the necessary manufacturing base, and has received mandatory certificates, licenses and permits in the field of occupational safety and environment protection authorizing to produce components from composite materials for wind power plants.
The capacity of green energy projects in Russia will exceed 3.2 GW by 2025
In April 2018, a contract was signed between the shipyard and NPK Khimpromengineering, a subsidiary of the Rosatom State Corporation, under which SNSZ was to manufacture composite nacelle covers, hub covers and fairings of wind power plants for five wind farms in the Republic of Adygea, Krasnodar and Stavropol Territories. The Kochubeyevskaya wind power plant has become the second facility for which SNSZ manufactures wind turbine components. Earlier, the company completed the delivery of components for a similar wind farm in the Republic of Adygea. This year, the enterprise will begin manufacturing components for the third wind farm. Completion is scheduled for October 2022. Sredne-Nevsky Shipyard will have to produce a total of 388 component sets during this period.
The principle of manufacturing composite components is not drastically different from say, the technology for making a small vessel from fiberglass. The production of composite cover sets can be divided into several main stages and a special production area is organized at the enterprise for each of them. First, a future outer coating is applied to the surface of a special mold. Next, a mixture of chopped fiberglass and resin is sprayed onto this coating. After that, the preform of the future product solidifies. Then it is removed from the mold and trimmed to drawing dimensions. The final stage of production is the installation of lightning protector parts and product packaging. It takes on average two days to produce one set of protection covers consisting of seven parts. In 2019, the Sredne-Nevsky Shipyard completed the delivery of 84 cover sets for the Kochubeyevskaya Wind Farm in the Stavropol Territory, the production of which took about seven months.
The conditions for the development of the wind power industry in our country are rather favorable. First of all, there are many territories suitable for the construction of wind farms. Most of Russia’s wind zones are steppes in southern Russia (Lower and Middle Volga, Don), sea coasts (the Arctic Ocean coast from the Kola Peninsula to Kamchatka, the Caspian, Black, Azov, Baltic and Okhotsk Sea coasts) and some separate wind zones (Karelia, Altai, Tuva, Baikal). Promising projects of twelve wind farms are under development in Russia. The participation of Sredne-Nevsky Shipyard in the project to manufacture products for wind-driven power plants is another strategic step towards entering new product areas, extending the range of application of its competencies in composite manufacturing and seeking alternate sales markets. Sredne-Nevsky Shipyard is optimistic about the prospects for its new area of its activities. The manufacture of nacelle/hub cover and fairing sets is not the only point of entry where the company can apply its experience and technology.
In the future, the shipyard plans to master the full cycle of wind-turbine blade production. To that end, all necessary conditions have been established at the shipyard and its specialists are working on a logistics scheme. In addition, according to experts, both the number of wind farms in Russia and their capacity are expected to grow considerably in the immediate future. It is projected that the capacity of «green energy» projects in Russia will exceed 3.2 GW and the share of wind generation in the country’s unified energy system will reach 1% by 2025. This will trigger strong demand for wind farm components and, consequently, growth in their production.