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Next generation wind turbine foundations deployed to North Sea

Suction bucket foundations for the Borkrum Riffgrund 2 are to be a testing ground for the next generation of wind turbine foundations.

Twenty of the 56 foundations for the project in the North Sea are based on a research project undertaken by Ørsted and HR Wallingford at the latter’s Oxfordshire Fast Flow Facility.

Through the project, the partners refined the design of the suction bucket foundation as part of a research project investigating scour effects and the most suitable scour protection for the novel foundation structures.

The 10 month study included physical modelling and complex analysis, looking into the types and extents of scour protection that would be required for the suction bucket foundation to be deployed in the North Sea. Testing was also undertaken to assess the likely impacts of scour protection around the cables required to transport power from offshore wind turbines to onshore transformer stations.

“For complex foundations, we currently use a combination of approaches to estimate likely scour, and this introduces a level of uncertainty in the design process,” said HR Wallingford chief technical director of sediment dynamics Richard Whitehouse. “The research with Ørsted has enabled us to develop greater certainty in the prediction of seabed response, and design more efficient foundation solutions. Ultimately this will help to make offshore wind developments more cost-effective, and developments in exposed locations and deeper waters more economically viable.”

The trial foundation structures are being manufactured by Harland and Wolff and installed by Geo Sea at the Borkum site, which is co-owned by Ørsted and Global Infrastructure Partners. The 450MW wind farm is expected to be operational by 2019.


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