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Foundation Design: A Comparison of Oil and Gas Platforms with Offshore Wind Turbines

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The offshore oil and gas (O&G) industry has over 70 years of experience developing innovative structures and foundation concepts for engineering in the marine environment. The evolution of these structures has strongly been influenced by water depth as well as soil conditions in the area of initial developments. As the offshore wind industry expands from the glacial soil deposits of the North and Baltic Seas, experience from the O&G industry can be used to aid a smooth transition to new areas. This paper presents an introduction to issues that influence how design and construction experience from the O&G industry can be used to aid foundation design for offshore wind energy converters. A history of the evolution of foundation and substructure concepts in the Gulf of Mexico and North Sea is presented, followed by a discussion of soil behavior and the influence of regional geology on these developments. Mechanisms that influence the resistance of shallow and deep foundations for fixed and floating offshore structures are outlined so that areas of empiricism within offshore design codes can be identified and properly modified for application to offshore wind turbine foundations. It is concluded that there are distinct differences between offshore O&G and offshore wind turbine foundations, and application of continued research into foundation behavior is necessary for rational, reliable, and cost-effective design.

Keywords: Foundation engineering; Offshore wind turbines; Soil mechanics

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2010

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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