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Over the last decade, the drive for developing offshore renewable resources, in particular offshore wind, has led to specific requirements for scour hazard assessment of the associated marine assets (foundation structures and the cabling necessary for in-field transmission and power export).

EXPERIENCED ADVICE AND RESEARCH The company has most recently supported DONG Energy to refine the design of a novel suction bucket foundation, as part of a research project to determine how these structures interact with, and impact upon, the hydrodynamic conditions and the seabed.

The action of waves and currents can lead to erosion of the seabed around wind turbine foundations which poses a risk to the stability of the foundation and, in extreme cases, has the potential to cause structural failure. The forces acting

a requirement for the technology to be proven before its application for use in large-scale developments. As a recognised leader in scour around marine structures, HR Wallingford’s clients benefit from the latest generation of physical modelling facilities, Fast Flow Facility, which uniquely provides a controlled environment in which to evaluate new and innovative scour protection systems for investigating the performance of novel foundation designs.

RECOGNISING THE CHALLENGES John Harris, Technical Director at HR Wallingford said: “We recognise the challenges that continue to face offshore wind developments with respect to seabed hazards and the development of cost-effective and structurally efficient foundations.

Whilst a substantial amount of knowledge has been gained over the last 60 years, there is still a need to better understand the scour and erosion processes, particularly with respect to scouring around more complex foundation structures, and in the non-uniform soils that, typically, are found offshore.


HR Wallingford is world-leading in the prediction and analysis of scour in non- uniform soils, and has an active programme of research looking at this, as well as at scouring around more complex foundation structure designs, which is becoming increasingly relevant as we see a drive to reduce the costs of offshore wind developments.

This has to be driven by more efficient foundations as we head further offshore. HR Wallingford is actively working with developers to help deliver the next generation of offshore wind foundations through state-of-the-art physical modelling facilities, as well as advanced computational fluid dynamic models.

on offshore wind foundations will typically increase as water depth increases. For complex foundations, a combination of approaches is used to estimate likely scour, and this introduces a level of uncertainty in the design process.

The research with DONG Energy will help to develop greater certainty in the prediction of seabed response and design more efficient foundation solutions. Ultimately, this will help to make offshore wind developments more cost-effective, and developments in exposed locations and deeper waters more economically viable.


Designs that have been shown to be reliable in the laboratory are likely to be adopted by developers, as there is also


“With respect to on-going and future research, HR Wallingford is continuing to invest in increasing the understanding of scour in non-uniform soils, efficient scour protection measures, the assessment of scour development at more complex foundation types, as well as developing the next generation of computational fluid dynamics models capable of accurately modelling scour in a range of soil conditions.

“Scour hazards will continue to remain a challenge for next generation foundations, and it is important that these are addressed at the design stage, in order to reduce the cost over the lifetime of a project.”

HR Wallingford

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