HR Wallingford and the University of Rostock are conducting a research on the development of scour on offshore substation jacket foundations located in the German part of the North Sea.
The new research, funded by the German government, includes two models of steel jacket foundations at a scale of 1:60.
Dr. Peter Menzel, from the Sediment Transport Research Group at the Chair for Ocean Engineering at the University of Rostock, said: “The data we are gathering in HR Wallingford’s world-leading facilities is deepening our understanding of the effects of scour on offshore substation jackets in the German sector of the North Sea where substantial offshore wind development is both ongoing and being planned.”
Offshore wind farms are getting bigger and increasingly being located farther in deeper waters, which creates new challenges for their design, maintenance and operation, HR Wallingford said, adding that the key for the wind farm to work well is the offshore substation.
According to the company, the hub of an offshore wind farm’s energy export, connecting each wind turbine to the grid, the stability and integrity of the substation jacket and its cables is vital for successful operation. Failure or damage of the substation could mean lost transmission for the entire wind farm, with repair costs and loss of revenue running to tens of millions of Euros.
Physical model tests allow for the effects of scour to be accurately assessed under realistic conditions in the laboratory, which can be used to inform and optimize jacket design, HR Wallingford said.
Prof. Richard Whitehouse, Chief Technical Director, Sediment Dynamics at HR Wallingford, said: “Studying the time development of scour around substation jacket foundations allows us to build on our existing knowledge of marine scour processes to the design benefit and operational management of offshore wind farms.”
The results of the scour research will be published following the completion of the program.
Images: HR Wallingford