First Offshore Wind Farm testing Mono Buckets


Update 26 November: 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).
Fred. Olsen, Shipowner and Chairman of the Board in Fred. Olsen Ocean:
“Competition in today’s offshore wind market is fierce. The industry is evolving, and it is important to challenge the existing standard, while continuing to respect the environment. This pilot offers the opportunity to test an environmentally sound solution with the support of a progressive market player, Northland Power. For the project teams, this has been a marathon of overcoming challenges together. Their commitment to find innovative solutions has been essential to our progress.”
Mike Crawley, President & CEO of Northland Power:
“The addition of the Demo turbines is another first for Northland Power, a consistent innovator in the clean and green energy industry. This pilot aligns with our commitment to sustainability by all definitions. In addition to the increased generating capacity from the extra turbines, we believe the technology has the potential to create further value by enabling faster construction and lower costs for certain site conditions, while reducing environmental impacts.”
Jens Poulsen, Project Director of Northland Deutsche Bucht GmbH:
“We are proud that with the BSH permit we will be able to test the two Mono Bucket foundations at the Deutsche Bucht offshore wind farm. Realizing the pilot project has been possible thanks to the support of the Deutsche Bucht development and construction teams and all the contractors involved. In particular, I would like to acknowledge the constructive collaboration with the BSH.”
Kristian Ravn, Managing Director of Universal Foundation:
“This pilot provides a unique opportunity to utilize the Mono Bucket foundation in a commercial project, demonstrating the above state of the art technology’s low impact on marine habitats. The support from Northland Power has been second to none. All of the parties involved have invested a lot of effort into making this project a reality, and we are delighted that it will now move forward.”
Arnoud Kuis, Director Van Oord Offshore Wind:
“As EPC/BoP contractor, Van Oord offers tailor-made solutions for the challenges that this expanding offshore wind market brings along. As such we are excited to be responsible for the manufacturing and installation of this new foundation type. Passion for entrepreneurship and marine construction is what binds us as partners in the realisation of this pilot project.”

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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