Industry partners to industrialise cost-saving suction bucket foundation
4 July, 2018
Photo: Suction buckets have been tested before – the new suction bucket foundation will use coil steel rather than plate
An industry consortium has been awarded €3.8M (US$4.4M) by the Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Programme (EUDP) to demonstrate the advantages of industrialising an enhanced suction bucket foundation for offshore windfarms.
The partners in the project said the overall aim of the project is to mature the industrialised suction bucket concept towards commercial-scale applications.
The consortium includes Siemens Gamesa, Universal Foundation, Aalborg University, Fred Olsen Windcarrier and Offshoreenergy.dk. The funds were awarded via the Danish Ministry of Energy, Utilities and Climate.
The partnership seeks to demonstrate how an industrialised suction bucket concept can ‘slash’ installation costs for foundations and complete an offshore installation campaign using a suction bucket prototype.
The partnership builds on an ongoing project under which a next-generation suction bucket concept has been designed and an 8 m x 8 m prototype fabricated. This prototype will be used in the trials.
The concept merges the noise-free installation advantages of suction buckets with industrialised fabrication techniques using coil steel instead of conventional plate steel, a fabrication technique originally developed by Siemens Gamesa and the Danish steel specialist Ib Andresen Industries, for application in onshore towers.
Siemens Gamesa project manager Finn Daugaard Madsen said applying the innovative fabrication method to suction bucket technology steel plate thickness can be reduced to less than 20 mm, compared to today’s typical thickness of 30-40 mm for this type of foundation. This means using lower cost steel with higher supply availability.
“The assembly process is much more suitable for high volume manufacturing, and hence supply bottlenecks can be eliminated and costs reduced,” he said, noting that a key element of the project is to ensure the structural integrity of the foundation during installation and operation.
Universal Foundation head of R&D Søren Andreas Nielsen said “The project is interesting in many ways. We all share the view that suction technology provides some obvious installation advantages, in terms of environmental impact and costs. Cost of fabrication and supply security are among the challenges to overcome for suction buckets.”