BNSF Logistics has successfully tested new fixtures it helped develop to move wind-turbine blades more efficiently via rail and ship, according to a company press release. Tests on the stowage technique were performed at the Port of Houston.
The company's Blade Runner service employs a universal fixture designed for rail and ocean transport to optimize the movement of wind components between any two points in the world. Along with engineering and design firm Energo, BNSF Logistics said it developed the fixtures to increase transportation efficiency for long blades and drive down logistics costs for wind component movements, the statement said.
"Our universal fixtures for both ship and rail transport modernizes the wind logistics industry and will unshackle current logistics constraints facing the industry, getting the wind industry closer to that critical self-sustaining cost level," said Ray Greer, president of BNSF Logistics.
The universal rail fixtures are designed to handle all sizes of blades, according to the statement, including longer blades inside required clearance windows, which makes rail a more viable option than truck, they said. Multiple rail tests were conducted
on long wind blades at the Port of Corpus Christi, Texas, and results showed a 35 percent improvement in the clearance envelope, according to the company.
For ocean transport, a blade stowage design also will enable BNSF Logistics to increase the number of blades carried per ship. BNSF Logistics expects the new system to improve stowage rates by a minimum of 25 percent versus existing configurations.
Using the same technology for rail, ocean, truck and storage activities will allow the blades to be transported without the attached fixtures that historically have been both pricey and difficult to manage, the statement said.