Naturally Sustainable - Secure foundations for offshore wind turbines

Better technology and better service provide efficient foundations for offshore wind turbines

In the future, a far greater share of our energy is to be generated by wind power. Experts see the greatest potential for this in offshore wind farms; out to sea, where the winds are stronger and steadier, these systems can make efficient use of wind energy as a genuine alternative to conventional power stations.

Installing wind turbines offshore is a demanding task. Not only do these huge, several-hundred-ton structures have to withstand being battered by strong winds and high waves, they also need to absorb the forces exerted by the turbines themselves. That calls for secure foundations, which have to be installed under very difficult conditions. To date, no single jacket design has come to the fore. In collaboration with an engineering firm, ThyssenKrupp is currently developing an extremely stable and efficient jacket foundation called Hexabase. As far as possible, the structures use standardized elements and are produced by automated processes.

Key to Hexabase is the use of wide hot strip in thicknesses of up to 25.4 millimeters for the majority of the tubular elements. This material is significantly easier to process into structural tubes than the quarto plate mainly used to date. As the welded tubes are all of the same diameter and the nodes are also of standardized design, the tubes and nodes can be joined by welding robots in fully automated processes. As well as saving time and money, computer-controlled welding also guarantees consistent weld quality.

Another special feature: The comparatively small diameters and wall thicknesses of the tubes make it possible to build a hexagonal lattice structure that is ideally suited to absorb the dynamic forces of the wind turbines and can be adapted easily to different water depths. In the future, ThyssenKrupp plans to provide full project management for production orders. Our Customers, most of them major corporations, will be able to benefit from the project management and liability standards of a contract partner of similar global standing. We also have experience in financing major projects. Today’s offshore wind farms generally comprise upwards of 80 wind turbines, so financing for a similar number of jacket foundations runs into the three-digit millions.

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