ESTEYCO – Energised to Build a Better World
Esteyco, an independent civil engineering and architecture consulting firm, is increasing its footprint in today’s most talked-about sector – renewables.
The Spanish company Esteyco, established in 1970 in Madrid, has grown into a solid, independent, flexible and truly multi-disciplinary organisation handling a vast variety of infrastructure and energy projects worldwide.
In recent years, the focus on renewable energy sources has grown, and Esteyco has been able to capitalise on its sound reputation to become a significant player on the global stage, making use of its wide range of services the company provides, from the very beginning of construction to full operation of a facility.
Today, Esteyco is an international reference point in the wind-energy sector. The company has participated in more than 450 wind farm projects with more than 50 GW of installed power in over 30 countries, from Morocco and France to Saudi Arabia, India and China.
Ramón López Mendizábal, Director of the Energy Division, describes the scope of the company’s operations: “We have a truly global reach. We have three offices in Spain and local presence in five countries – Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Colombia and Argentina. Right now, we are in the process of opening a branch in Texas, US.”
“We have been involved in highly specific, very demanding projects, as well as more traditional assignments, comprising hundreds of wind farms, including the largest facilities in the world. Although we are a medium-sized company, we have been chosen for these international projects because of our extensive know-how, expertise and wide-ranging experience.”
The list of projects that Esteyco has completed over the last five decades is extensive. Ramón López Mendizábal highlights two that stand out and provide a good demonstration of the company’s capability.
The first is the Elisa Project implemented in the Canary Islands a few years ago, the result of an eight-year development and demonstration process led by Esteyco, and supported by R&D institutions as well as the EU’s 2020 Horizon Programme.
It was the first self-installing bottom fixed off-shore wind turbine in southern Europe and the first one worldwide to be commissioned completely independently of costly heavy-lift vessels.
The ELISA technology, developed by Esteyco, is a ground-breaking concept for offshore wind substructures that comprises a Gravity Base Foundation (GBS) configured to act as a buoyant platform which integrates an auto lift telescopic tower, both made of concrete, together with the complete wind turbine. Each complete unit can be fully assembled onshore, conventionally towed to the site, and installed with no need for large ships or marine cranes, bringing about considerable cost savings and a reduced risk of delays.
“The ELISA technology not only reduces costs compared to current technologies, but also reduces risk and environmental impact, increasing significantly the local content,” Mr López Mendizábal points out.
“This award-winning technology has been applied in on-shore projects and has allowed us to achieve the tallest self-supporting wind tower in the world, with 170 m hub height and supporting a 3.6 MW – 155 m rotor diameter turbine, another ground-breaking project implemented recently in the Henan province in Central China.”
He explains that the solution is based on using heavy-lift strand jacks always placed at 40-50 m height, reusing them to lift one tower section after the other.
Such recoverable jacks lifting each level is supported by the one below, which also helps to guide the lifting section as it rises, in a self-installing procedure patented by Esteyco, in which the tower itself is the only supporting structure required.
“These projects demonstrate well what is our differentiator compared with similar companies. We are a civil engineering company that tries to develop product engineering, something that is not that common in our field. We have our own, proprietary products, such as precast foundations and special offshore solutions. This is what makes us unique,” says Ramón López Mendizábal.
The world stage
“Our responsibility is not limited to providing outstanding engineering work; with our projects, we help create a better world. Our commitment is very clear – in 1991 Esteyco established a foundation aimed at creating and spreading architectural and engineering knowledge to do just that: help society on a continuous basis to enhance and to change the world for the better.”
Mr López Mendizábal acknowledges that to be part of international cooperation projects is one of the company’s targets for the future. “From time to time, we partner with local NGO’s that cross our path; this is also our way of trying to contribute to the betterment of society.”
Being a globally active, independent entity with limited resources in a world of large players brings its own challenges, he admits. Still, these have been handled well and have not hindered Esteyco from planning to make use of opportunities emerging in the energy sector in other parts of the world.
“The rapidly changing energy sector definitely presents the biggest potential for us, and we aim to be involved not only in current but also in new forms of energy. We expect to develop our own products for on- and off-shore applications to make the world greener.”
“Geographically speaking, when it comes to new markets our eyes are on Asia, a region that has not been exploited to the full by Esteyco. Engineering travels very well – together with the people in local markets we can employ it to the benefit of all.”