Innovation Topic Support Structures

The Challenge

The Netherlands has strong players and a well-developed SME supply chain, with innovative production lines for wind turbine support structures. These companies are sometimes already market leaders, and want to secure, and further expand, their position.

In addition to optimising existing support structures through the application of appropriate design methods and of integrated design and optimisation tools, cost reduction can be achieved by designing entirely new types of support structures, and in the field of optimal fabrication by means of construction research.

The R&D Activities

  1. Design tools: development of better and cheaper constructions through the use of improved design tools based on the latest "state-of-the-art" design standards. The rules dealing with corrosion, fatigue and safety margins can be checked and improved through field measurements and research. Validating and certifying design tools are also a part of this activity.
  2. Sea(bed) Research: Compiling more knowledge about surface and waves and their interaction with the foundation. The models used for calculations with support structures can be further optimised through laboratory.
  3. New concepts: design and testing of new concepts and variants (both bottom fixed and floating), integrated design of foundation and tower, research into innovative joining techniques (such as slip-joint) to replace grout and application of other components and materials (sandwich constructions, composite materials, hybrid materials).
  4. Life cycle aspects: design of support structures taking into consideration end-of-life, lifetime extension, repowering, decommissioning and recycling. Research on corrosion (including Microbial Induced Corrosion) and development of improvements to the corrosion protection.
  5. Construction research: fast, efficient series production and assembly of the designs both onshore and offshore.
  6. Monopile: further development of the design, manufacture, transport and installation of the monopile for larger wind turbines and greater water depth.