Alexandre Mathern, Christoph von der Haar and Steffen Marx
Today’s offshore wind turbine support structures market is largely dominated by steel structures, since steel monopiles account for the vast majority of installations in the last decade and new types of multi-leg steel structures have been developed in recent years.
However, as wind turbines become bigger, and potential sites for offshore wind farms are located in ever deeper waters and ever further from the shore, the conditions for the design, transport, and installation of support structures are changing. In light of these facts, this paper identifies and categorizes the challenges and future trends related to the use of concrete for support structures of future offshore wind projects.
To do so, recent advances and technologies still under development for both bottom-fixed and floating concrete support structures have been reviewed. It was found that these new developments meet the challenges associated with the use of concrete support structures, as they will allow the production costs to be lowered and transport and installation to be facilitated.
New technologies for concrete support structures used at medium and great water depths are also being developed and are expected to become more common in future offshore wind installations. Therefore, the new developments identified in this paper show the likelihood of an increase in the use of concrete support structures in future offshore wind farms.
These developments also indicate that the complexity of future support structures will increase due to the development of hybrid structures combining steel and concrete. These evolutions call for new knowledge and technical know-how in order to allow reliable structures to be built and risk-free offshore installation to be executed.
wind energy; offshore wind; support structures; foundations; concrete structures; trends