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A new research project, launched today, aims to extend the use of offshore wind monopile foundations, to support larger turbines in deeper waters. Monopiles are the cheapest and most widespread offshore wind turbine foundation, however they experience structural issues as their length and the weight they bear increases.
 
Currently, this creates weight and water depth limits. The Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA), led by the Carbon Trust, is hoping to find a solution, through a new project called Support Structure Damping.
 
The project is seeking a contractor for the technical delivery of six work packages.  The invitation to tender is out this week and open to submissions from prospective bidders. The accelerator is also open for new partners to participate in the project. Currently, alternative foundation types, such as jackets, tripods, or floating structures, would need to be used past a certain depth. If monopiles become available for deeper waters, it could cut the costs and complexity of wind farm development.
 
The project will define new design guidelines, which incorporate improved damping technologies, for offshore wind structures.  The guidelines will set best practice for developers and turbine manufacturers to collaborate in the structural design process.
 
The tender closes on 1st December 2022, with successful applicants expected to begin work later this year, running until early 2024.
 
The Carbon Trust will manage and lead the project, with the selected contractor delivering the technical studies, supported by project partners Equinor, RWE, Shell, SSE Renewables, TotalEnergies and GE.
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