Monopiles are by far the most commonly used foundations for offshore wind turbines in the North Sea and, we do not expect that to change in the future. Monopiles are relatively simple and cheap to manufacture, occupy moderate space on ships and are reliable. Hydraulic pile driving is currently the most widely used method of driving monopiles into the seabed. This method is also called hammering.
Significant drawbacks of hammering are the generation of underwater noise that can be detrimental to fauna and unsuitability of the technology for extracting piles at the end of their lifetime. Alternative installation technologies are currently being investigated, developed and tested to deal with these concerns. Such technologies should enable the installation and decommissioning of future XXL monopiles in a wide range of soil conditions in a sustainable, cost-effective, societally and environmentally acceptable manner.
However, none of such technologies is sufficiently developed for use in commercial projects so far. To accelerate the development of these installation techniques, a better understanding of their performance and validation of the underlying models are required. This development will ensure that offshore wind in the North Sea remains one of the cheapest options for electricity generation.
SIMOX strives to align the necessary knowledge for new and innovative installation options. In this project, we will collect the necessary technical and environmental knowledge with the aim of having one or more qualified and validated next-generation installation technologies available within 5 years.
SIMOX will investigate and test various installation techniques, of which the degree of technical development differs from each other, namely
Additionally, the project will assess the implications for decommissioning at the end of service life.
The project activities start with drawing up a set of criteria to objectively characterise the innovative installation techniques as much as possible. All partners will provide input for the criteria with the support of NGOs, Rijkswaterstaat and a certification body. Based on this information and a desktop study, we want to map the current state of developments in science and technology and to identify the gaps in data and models for the new technologies.
We will then conduct a series of laboratory and field tests at an intermediate scale. The purpose of this is to generate data sets that are necessary to gain new insights and knowledge, support model development and validation, and draw conclusions for design practice. With this information, we can then improve the installation techniques. Finally, we will analyse, integrate and implement the results into forecasting models in close collaboration with stakeholders, i.e. customers, designers, certification bodies, NGOs and regulators.
The main result of SIMOX is an improved understanding of the physics behind several promising, innovative, affordable, reliable and sustainable technologies for the installation of XXL monopiles. The SIMOX project will lead to the following results:
SIMOX is not only essential for technical development. SIMOX also contributes - as a spin-off of the broader GROW consortium - to the formation of an ecosystem where companies, research institutes, NGOs and governments get to know each other better and use each other's strengths to meet the social challenge of further development. sustainable energy offshore.