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HR Wallingford works with Dong Energy on next-generation wind turbine foundations

CTBR Staff Writer Published 30 June 2015

HR Wallingford is working with Dong Energy on a project to develop next-generation wind turbine foundations.

Laser

The project, which is currently being undertaken at HR Wallingford's fast flow facility, is focused on new designs for suction bucket foundations and their impacts.

The companies will identify how the structures will interact with the hydrodynamic conditions and the seabed.

HR Wallingford said the action of waves and currents can result in the erosion of the seabed around wind turbine foundations, which is known as scour.

The phenomenon could risk the foundation's stability and may cause structural failure in extreme situations.

HR Wallingford technical director Richard Whitehouse said: "The forces acting on offshore wind foundations will typically increase as water depth increases. 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.

"This research with Dong will help us to develop greater certainty in the prediction of seabed response and design more efficient foundation solutions."

The research will help in making offshore wind developments more costs effective, and projects in exposed locations and deeper waters economically viable.

HR Wallingford's fast flow facility, which was opened for business in October 2014, holds 1 million litres of water and can generate waves up to 1m high and flows of more than 2.6 m/s.

Image: Laser scanners measure the movement of sediment around a 1:32 model of a suction bucket foundation, helping HR Wallingford's scientists to understand the potential impact of scour. Photo: courtesy of HR Wallingford.