A consortium including Siemens Gamesa, Universal Foundation, Aalborg University, Fred. Olsen Windcarrier and Offshoreenergy.dk has been awarded 3.8m EUR by the Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Programme (EUDP) via the Danish Ministry of Energy, Utilities, and Climate. The partnership seeks to demonstrate how an industrialized suction-bucket concept can slash the installation costs of offshore wind foundations.
The specific purpose of this Part 2 project is to complete an offshore trial installation campaign using the new suction-bucket concept prototype.
To this end, Universal Foundation is continuing in its successful partnership with Siemens Gamesa to showcase suction bucket technology with focus on industrializing suction-bucket technology. The overall target is to decrease the cost of foundation construction and installation by 40% to support continued decreases in the levelized cost of energy or LCOE.
The partnership builds on an ongoing project (Part 1), under which a next generation suction-bucket concept has been designed and an 8×8 meter prototype has been fabricated. During Part 2, the prototype will be used for the offshore trial installation campaign. The new concept merges the noise-free installation advantages of suction buckets with industrialized fabrication methods using coil steel (instead of classical plate steel).
“By applying this innovative fabrication method to suction-bucket technology in offshore wind, the steel plate thickness can be reduced to below 20mm, compared to today’s typical thickness of 30 to 40mm for this type of foundation,” explained Finn Daugaard Madsen, Project Manager, SiemensGamesa. “This means use of lower costs steel with higher supply availability.”
The fabrication method was originally developed between Siemens Gamesa and the Danish steel specialist Ib Andresen Industries for application in onshore towers.
“The assembly process is much more suitable for high-volume manufacturing, and hence supply bottlenecks can be eliminated and costs reduced,” added Daugaard Madsen. “A key element is to ensure the structural integrity of the foundation both during installation and operation. During Part 2 of the project, we are excited to prove the installation integrity of the system.”
The aim is to mature the industrialized suction-bucket concept toward full commercial scale.
“The project is interesting in many ways. We all share the view that suction technology provides some obvious installation advantages, both in terms of environmental impact and costs,” said Søren Andreas Nielsen, Head of R&D, Universal Foundation. “Cost of fabrication and supply security continue as one of the challenges to overcome for suction buckets. The competitive environment of offshore wind drives us to think innovation, and this project enables us to cut the total system cost by 40%.”