Texas A&M researchers have theorized a way to float a 15-megawatt wind turbine in offshore environments and install the structure using vibratory hammers. Funded by the National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium, they will determine the practicality of this idea.
“Cranes are expensive, and in the offshore business, they charge about a half-million dollars per day for use,” said Dr. Saadat Mirza, professor in the subsea engineering program offered through the department. “We are proposing that we assemble the whole structure onshore and float the structure out. This idea is completely new to industry.”
Other contributors include Dr. Charles Aubeny in the civil and environmental engineering department and Dr. Moo-Hyun Kim from the ocean engineering department.
The team has proposed to insert wind turbines into the seabed through vibratory hammers capable of quickly puncturing and temporarily loosening the seabed, to install a bucket foundation.
“We are proposing that we assemble the whole structure onshore and float the structure out. This idea is completely new to industry.”
“When the hammer vibrates, it temporarily liquefies the soil and will allow the turbine to enter the soil very rapidly,” said Aubeny. “As opposed to impact installation, which uses one large hammer, multiple vibratory hammers may be used simultaneously. This means no strict limit on the foundation size.”
By using vibratory hammering, the foundation can be more compact. This feature allows for construction of the wind turbine on land then floating it to the offshore location. This method is also less time-consuming, taking only 10-15 minutes, as opposed to the 8-10 hours it currently takes. In addition, noise pollution and financial costs are immensely decreased.
Dr. Charles Aubeny
- Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering
Dr. Saadat Mirza
- Professor of Practice, Subsea Engineering
Dr. Moo-Hyun Kim
- Professor, Ocean Engineering
- Bauer Professor II
- Director, Ocean System Simulation and Control Lab