The outcome of a new £1M research and development project could save more than eight times that for every offshore wind farm it is deployed on, claims Innovate UK-backed project team working on the development.
diagram of the scour protection system 768x605
The 20 month Self-Installing Scour Protection for Offshore Wind Farms (SISProtect) project is a collaboration between six industry partners that aims to overcome the issues of scour for offshore wind farm foundations.
Scour occurs when an underwater structure is subjected to currents and waves. Foundations used by offshore wind turbines can be susceptible to scour depending on site conditions, which can reduce the stability of this critical structure. Therefore, scour protection and prevention is vital.
The SISProtect consortium is being led by Seabed Scour Control Systems (SSCS) and the team will work on design of the prototype Frond Mat scour protection system which has an integrated deployment method.
SSCS will work on design of the mats, which another partner SPT Offshore will design the deployment system.
The system will then be fabricated and fitted to a suction bucket foundation designed and manufactured by SPT Offshore and installed by N-Sea at Scottish Power Renewables’ East Anglia One offshore windfarm.
This field trial follows on from laboratory scour tests already carried out by Scottish Power Renewables with SSCS Ltd at HR Wallingford.
The success of the system will be measured against a suction bucket installed without scour protection at the same site to create a reference installation.
The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult will analyse how this system compares in performance and cost with traditional scour protection systems, starting with the installation through to infield performance and decommissioning, and DHI Water Environments will monitor the offshore deployment and system performance over 12 months, after which time the system will be removed.
SSCS subsea division manager Adam Tucker said: “By pre-installing the scour protection system onshore and deploying at the same time as the foundation installation, this innovation will remove the need for environmentally damaging quarrying of rocks and diesel intensive installation vessels whilst providing a lower cost alternative to those currently available for the protection of offshore wind structures.”
ORE Catapult financial analyst Miriam Noonan added: Installation costs typically account for over 75% of the overall cost associated with scour protection systems. By being able to deploy SSCS Frond Mats at the same time as the wind turbine foundation installation, the associated installation costs may be significantly reduced.”