More advanced geotechnical designs for foundations can have a major impact on cost reduction as the foundations contribute significantly to the overall costs when building an offshore wind farm. We and the University of Oxford have already collaborated on a range of projects over the last ten years, including the recently completed PISA (Pile Soil Analysis) project, leading to significant improvements in the design of offshore wind turbine foundations.
This agreement builds on our long-standing relationship with UK academia to drive innovations in renewable energy as well as our support for education and skills development for the future of the offshore wind industry. For the past seven years, we have also collaborated with researchers at the Durham Energy Institute (DEI) and is co-funding an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) grant programme. Continuing to drive down costs is critical for the offshore wind industry, and we are working with several universities to improve the design and performance of offshore wind turbines.
Christina Aabo, our Head of R&D at Wind Power, says:
“We’re excited about this agreement with the University of Oxford, a world leading institution, which will help us better understand how we can optimise the design of wind turbine foundations. This partnership will enable us to further mature our foundation designs to support even bigger wind turbines in even deeper waters, while reducing costs and risks.”
Byron Byrne, Professor of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford, says:
“This exciting new phase of collaboration with Ørsted will put the next generation of offshore wind farms on more secure and cost-effective foundations through robust design methods for cyclic loading. This will be challenging but essential if the cost of offshore wind energy is to be further reduced.”
The research under the framework agreement will further develop, extend and embed new geotechnical design ideas into well-defined engineering methods for offshore wind power. The focus will be on cyclic loading, which is an important element of safe design, especially for deeper water and larger turbines. Cyclic loading is the repeated loading that comes from the action of wind and waves on the structure as well as the operation of the turbine. The research activities will deliver new design methods to address this cyclic loading, through doctoral and post-doctoral research projects, including on theoretical development, soil laboratory testing and medium scale field tests.
As the global leader in offshore wind power, we are committed to working with world-leading academic research groups to drive innovation and competitiveness, while at the same time improving knowledge across the industry.