New Project Eyes Cutting Foundation-Related Costs by 40%

Danish Energy Ministry has awarded EUR 3.8 million through the Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Programme (EUDP) to a consortium aiming to demonstrate how an industrialised suction bucket concept can cut foundation installation costs. 

The consortium – comprising Siemens Gamesa, Universal Foundation, Aalborg University, Fred. Olsen Windcarrier and – is looking to lower the cost of foundation construction and installation by 40% to support continued decreases in the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCoE), as well as to mature the industrialised suction bucket concept towards full commercial scale.

The funding will support the consortium in completing an offshore trial installation campaign using a new suction bucket concept prototype, which was designed and built in an ongoing project.

Namely, the partners have already produced an 8×8-meter prototype and now it will be used for the offshore trial installation campaign.

The new concept merges noise-free installation of suction buckets with industrialised fabrication methods using coil steel, instead of classical plate steel. The fabrication method was originally developed between Siemens Gamesa and Danish steel specialist Ib Andresen Industries for application in onshore towers.

Finn Daugaard Madsen, Project Manager at Siemens Gamesa, said: “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 30-40mm for this type of foundation. This means use of lower costs 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. 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,” he explained.

“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. 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%,” said Søren Andreas Nielsen, Head of R&D, Universal Foundation.

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