First Offshore Wind Farm testing Mono Buckets


Update 17 March 2020: Northland Power provides an update on the pilot project. The press release is available here.

Update 26 November 2019: Installation of the first of two Mono Buckets at our Deutsche Bucht project has been paused due to a technical issue and for further evaluation. As the Mono Bucket installations are part of a pilot project designed to test this technology, this pause does not impact the 31 turbines that make up the main project. - end-

Deutsche Bucht is the first offshore wind farm worldwide to test the Mono Bucket under commercial operating conditions, topped with 8.4 megawatt turbines. The Mono Bucket foundation structure consists of a single steel cylinder, known as a “suction bucket”, upon which is mounted a shaft. The advantage of the suction bucket construction is that its own weight and vacuum pressure causes it to become firmly embedded in the sea floor. This method eliminates the need for pile driving, and consequently, for noise mitigation measures such as big bubble curtains. This results in benefits for the environment, including less disruption for local porpoise populations, and the ability to completely decommission the Mono Bucket. The Mono Bucket concept has been in development by Universal Foundation since 2001, based on experience gained from the oil and gas industry. The new foundation structure has already been successfully used in applications such as the foundations for offshore met masts. 

On 19 July 2018, the Deutsche Bucht Mono Bucket pilot demonstrator ("Demo") project reached financial close. In May 2018, the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency of Germany (BSH) granted the Deutsche Bucht offshore wind project the permit required to erect two additional pilot wind turbines using Mono Bucket foundations. In 2016, the German Federal Network Agency (BNetzA) assigned an additional 16.8 megawatts of grid connection capacity to the Deutsche Bucht project as part of a tender for testing these prototype foundations with MHI Vestas turbines (model V164-8.4).

Project Management

On behalf of Northland Deutsche Bucht, K2 Management is responsible for project management during the construction phase.

Manufacturing and installation

Research on Suction Buckets at Fraunhofer Institute

Researchers of German Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy Systems (IWES) tested two large-scale suction buckets in early 2018. Object of the study was the behavior of the bucket foundations during the suction-assisted installation and its axial behavior when subjected to extreme wave loads. The large-scale experimental investigations were carried out at the Test Center for Support Structures, an installation of the Leibniz University Hannover. The test results confirmed the enormous potential of this foundation concept for reliable and cost-effective deployment in offshore wind farms. Within the experimental work the IWES researchers were also able to quantify an effective temporary increase in tensile capacity during storms.

Read more:
Press release “Demo Project for Suction Bucket Foundations
Press release “Suction Buckets: Large-Scale Test Reveals Increased Tensile Capacity During Storms”

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