Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI), an international center for geoscience research and consulting, and DONG Energy Wind Power signed a contract for the installation of 20 offshore wind turbine bucket foundations, called suction bucket jackets. The turbines will be placed at the offshore wind farm Borkum Riffgrund 2 in the German sector of the North Sea, located 54km off the coast of Lower Saxony, next to Borkum Riffgrund 1. Subcontractor to NGI will be the Norwegian firm FRAMO.
The production of renewable energy is increasing each year, and investments in offshore wind power is an important step toward a future without fossil fuels. The 20 turbines will be installed at the wind farm Borkum Riffgrund 2 in the German sector of the North Sea, which is being developed by the Danish company DONG Energy. Each of the enormous 8MW turbines stands 187m tall above the sea level and has a wingspan of 164m. Such a size requires a steady and safe foundation.
DONG Energy Wind Power installed a prototype of the suction bucket jacket at the German offshore wind farm Borkum Riffgrund 1. However, Borkum Riffgrund 2 is the first offshore wind farm where suction bucket foundations are being used extensively, but the method is well known from other types of offshore installations in the oil and gas industry done by NGI.
“The contract with DONG Energy means that NGI will install the foundation after the jackets have been placed on the seabed, “says Audun Hauge, project manager for NGI. “We will commence with the planning and the production of the equipment instantly. The work with installing the 20 suction bucket foundations on Borkum Riffgrund 2 in the North Sea will take place the first half of 2018.”
After the offshore contractor has placed the suction bucket jacket on the seabed, NGI will install the foundation by pumping water out of the buckets. This creates a suction/vacuum, which press the buckets into the seabed. These type of foundations are often referred to as suction anchors or suction buckets.
Image: Installation of suction bucket jacket at Borkum Riffgrund 1/Norwegian Geotechnical Institute