Image: An offshore wind turbine with a conventional foundation. Credit: Max Pixel (Public Domain)
Original Published Date: 
Thursday, August 2, 2018

A new ARC Linkage Project has received $395,000 in funding to develop industry guidelines for the ‘caisson’ or suction anchor, as a more efficient foundation that will reduce the costs of installing and decommissioning offshore wind turbines.

Led by Associate Professor Britta Bienen, who is based at The University of Western Australia’s node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Geotechnical Science & Engineering, the project expects to generate new knowledge of caisson response during installation, and over millions of wind/wave load cycles, by integrating field experience with measurements from innovative experiments.

With additional support from industry partner Lloyd’s Register EMEA, and The University of Melbourne, expected outcomes of this project include new methods to guide suction installation in difficult soil layering and predicting rotation and stiffness over a turbine’s operational life.

These advances in understanding will contribute to the economic and reliable design of suction caisson foundations, as an alternative to existing fixed foundations, with a consequent reduction in costs and potentially a more rapid take-up of offshore wind energy.