Offshore Wind Turbine Geotechnical Engineering

Dr Nobutaka Yamamoto and Carl Erbrich

It has been recognised globally that offshore wind provides a great renewable energy source throughout the world and the accumulated knowledge of offshore geotechnical engineering from oil and gas projects provide engineering analysis solutions and techniques that are often directly applicable to the offshore wind industry. However, offshore wind also involves unique challenges that have required development of some special solutions.

A unique challenge in Australian waters is the predominance of carbonate sediments which has led to many geotechnical issues over the years due to their unique characteristics. It is anticipated that offshore wind will also encounter such soils and appropriate engineering solutions will therefore be required to meet the challenges.

In this presentation several advanced geotechnical engineering techniques developed for offshore oil and gas developments will be discussed and modifications that might be necessary specifically for offshore wind are introduced, considering both carbonate and non-carbonate soil types. How these are used in the design of appropriate foundation types for offshore wind developments will also be discussed.

About the speakers

Dr Nobutaka Yamamoto Principal Geotechnical Engineer, Fugro

Nobu has +15 years’ geotechnical engineering experience covering a wide variety of major infrastructure projects. He has extensive experience in geotechnical site investigations, the interpretation of geological profiles and providing recommendations of soil parameters for design, including for major offshore oil and gas developments and onshore infrastructure projects. Nobu’s main area of expertise is that of seismic site response analyses followed by seismic induced liquefaction assessment and in numerical modelling for shallow and deep foundations, embankments, tunnels, deep excavations and slopes with static and dynamic loadings using finite element programming software. Nobu has recently been involved in many offshore windfarm projects in the Asia Pacific region especially in Japan and acted as the geotechnical engineer for the foundation design review of monopile foundations for a major Japanese offshore wind project and worked on geological and geotechnical desktop studies including suitable foundation concept and site investigation planning for several other Japanese offshore windfarm projects.

Carl Erbrich Technical Director, Fugro

Carl has over 30 years’ experience in offshore geotechnical engineering. He is currently the Technical Director of Fugro Geoconsulting in Perth, and prior to the acquisition by the Fugro Group, was an Executive Director of Advanced Geomechanics since 1998. Carl’s expertise covers a wide field and includes detailed design responsibility for the foundations of numerous major structures both offshore Australia and elsewhere in the world. Carl has also been at the forefront in the development of many state-of-the-art design methods, and he is also an expert in the application of advanced numerical analysis methods to the solution of complex engineering problems. Carl is also a long-standing member of the ISO/ API committee that develops and maintains the industry-standard ISO/ API codes. Specific offshore windfarm experience includes acting as the technical lead for the FEED foundation design of suction bucket foundations for the Hornsea 01 project and also for a major study into the use of suction bucket jackets offshore Taiwan, considering seismic and typhoon response and cyclic long-term tension loading. Carl was also the technical lead for geotechnical input into the detailed design of monopile foundations for the Bellwind II project and also for detailed finite element analyses conducted during detailed design of monopile foundations for the Borssele 01/02 windfarm. Carl has also worked extensively on pile buckling problems, including for offshore windfarms in the North Sea and Baltic Sea.

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