The route up to the windy heights of Viento Blanco Wind Farm in Guatemala is 10 kilometers long and leads past an active volcano. It follows a narrow winding mountain road lined with trees and rock overhangs and gradients of as great as 18 percent uphill and 13 percent downhill.
Seven Vestas V 112 wind turbines are being installed at the wind farm. The rotor blades were transported over a distance of 80 kilometers from the Guatemalan port of Puerto Quetzal to the Viento Blanco site by the Daco Heavy Lift de Centroamerica haulage company using an FTV 300 blade transport device from Goldhofer.
The first 70 kilometers of the journey were relatively easy, with highway driving all the way. However, handling the last 10 kilometers involved more than 16,000 man hours for Daco Heavy Lift, which completed the operation with all the rotor blades in 40 days, thanks to painstaking preparations, detailed inspection of the route, extensive safety measures, and effective cooperation with the Goldhofer Service team.
The FTV 300 met all the requirements for handling such a demanding operation without having to blast rock along the mountain road, cut power to overhead lines, or fell any trees that form a dense curtain on both sides of the road. Daco’s experts were able to raise the rotor blades to any angle up to 60 degrees, making it possible to negotiate the narrow bends at walking pace without the risk of contact with the embankments.
The dynamic wind forces acting on the rotor blades in the raised position — when they are as high as 50 meters — presented an additional challenge. A wind force specialist continuously monitored the FTV 300’s integrated anemometer. A 360-degree pivot system permits the attached blade to be rotated around its own axis as required to ensure that the rotor blades are always correctly positioned for the optimum wind attack angle.
The combination of flexible tilt angle and blade rotation allowed all the critical sections of the mountain road to be negotiated, while passages under numerous overhead power lines were handled by simply reducing the angle of tilt. As a result, all 21 rotor blades were transported up the mountain in just three hours each.
Information provided by Goldhofer (www.goldhofer.com), a supplier of transport equipment for general and heavy-duty hauling and oversized cargo transportation.