ECN’s integral modelling techniques ensure monopiles are solid support option for 10MW wind turbines

Thursday March 2, 2017 17:05

Offshore wind farms are contributing increasingly to the sustainable energy targets of European countries. A new generation of 10 MW wind turbines will be rolled out in the near future and the trend towards larger turbines is likely to continue. For long it was believed jackets or other foundation types would scale more favourably in deeper waters and for larger turbines over the cost-effective monopile structure. Monopiles, however, have the advantage of being relatively straight-forward to produce in large quantities, feature less complicated welds and are easier to install.

In a recent Joint Industry Project, ECN was the leading party to substantiate that through integral modelling techniques a monopile support structure can be designed for 10 MW class wind turbines in larger water depths of 50 metres. This ensures that the monopile foundation will remain a serious option for future support structure designs.

ECN is taking an integral approach in modelling offshore wind turbines, combining knowledge and experience in aerodynamics, hydrodynamics, control and structural dynamics using integrated modelling  tools. The benefit of this approach is that more cost-effective structures can be designed and the latest innovations can be applied. Collaboration with other research institutes is sought, for example in the development of the floating wind turbine code aNySIMPhatas by ECN, WMC and MARIN. This design code combines the expertise of each institute: wind turbine technology combined with floating structures.

ECN has extensive experience in modelling large wind turbines and is able to analyse the loads and vibration response on different types of support structures. Some wind turbine models have been developed in research projects and contain innovations to be expected in a few years. This can aid support structure designers having limited access to wind turbine loads. Furthermore, this enables ECN and its partners to identify design limits and barriers for future foundations.

If you want more information on how ECN can help you with modelling support structures, please contact Glen Donnelly via our online contact form.

Category: Corporate, Wind Energy