Universal’s ‘Suction Bucket’ Design Ready for Trials

The Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) is joining forces with Statoil, Statkraft, EON, DONG Energy and Universal Foundation, in close co-operation with Aalborg University, to undertake installation trials of the Universal Foundation ‘suction bucket’ offshore wind foundation.

Such innovative foundation designs alone have the potential to reduce the capital costs of offshore wind energy by up to £1bn over the next decade and reduce the cost of energy from offshore wind farms by 10%.

The £6.5m joint industry trial will be executed in Q3 this year, and will see installation of the Universal Foundation ‘suction bucket’ together with a reference bucket at a number of different locations at the sites of three planned major offshore wind farms in the North Sea. The foundations will be installed at each site, then withdrawn and moved onto the next site for testing.

The Carbon Trust has estimated that new lower cost foundations could save developers up to a billion pounds on the basis of new foundation designs driving a 10% reduction in the cost of energy from 2,500 offshore wind turbines expected to be deployed over the next decade.

Universal Foundation has teamed up with Fred. Olsen Windcarrier to perform the trials at sites with differing soil conditions to determine the potential range of use for the new foundation which is quicker to install and requires less steel than conventional monopile foundations.

Universal Foundation’s ‘suction bucket’ was one of four novel low cost foundation designs that were shortlisted following an international competition run by the Carbon Trust in 2009 to discover world leading innovation in this area. Two Universal Foundation ‘suction buckets’ are currently installed at Dogger Bank, a Round 3 offshore wind site, where they support two meteorological masts. In addition, an offshore met. mast foundation was installed in Denmark in 2009 and a 3MW turbine on a Universal Foundation has been fully operational in Frederikshavn since 2002.

June 11, 2014

 

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