A lift-off investigation of next-generation offshore wind turbine generator components for feedering in the U.S.: Creating understanding in the release stage of a tower segment
Smorenberg, Marius (TU Delft Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering)
Schreier, S. (mentor)
Degree granting institution
Colomes, Oriol (graduation committee)
Fazi, S. (graduation committee)
Antonini, A. (graduation committee)
Delft University of Technology
Offshore and Dredging Engineering
Climate change is triggering an ever-growing demand for renewable energy. The U.S. is still far behind Europe when it comes to offshore wind energy. They have made ambitious plans to reach 30 GW in offshore wind energy by 2030 while currently 42 MW is installed. One of the main challenges in the U.S. is the installation method since a legislation called the Jones act prevents the usage of European installation vessels for shuttling (the conventional method). Building a Jones act. compliant installation vessel is a large investment which comes with risks and long lead times. Feedering is an alternative strategy, but barely any research on it is available. Here, a feeder vessel sails back and forth from the storage port to the (non-Jones act. compliant) installation vessel to supply Wind Turbine Generator (WTG) components. These components need to be lifted from the floating feeder in order to be installed. In the literature, this step is deemed to be the riskiest. However, barely any technical research is available with regards to the lift-off.
In the first thesis of this double degree program, a lift/installation sequence called the direct installation method is deemed to be highly interesting with respect to the logistics and costs. However, this research misses a technical study in order to understand if it is technically reachable to directly install these components. In this offshore engineering thesis, a barge is used as a feeder vessel and tower segments of a 20 MW WTG are chosen as the to-be lifted components. This research focuses on the pre-tension phase before the lift-off. This contains the steps where the crane of the installation vessel is already attached to the tower, pre-tension is building up and the release of the sea-fastening. Here, pre-tension is a percentage of the load that is taken in the crane before the lift-off. This research aims to increase the understanding of whether a tower can be released safely on the floating barge and what can be done in order to realise the idea of a direct installation method.
Frequency, as well as time-domain simulations, are used to investigate the problem. The results show that snap loads occur for pre-tensions up to 10\%. From 30\% and higher, the tower will start toppling. Toppling is initiated due to the inertia of the large tower segment when it is released from its sea-fastening. Toppling the tower is not allowed since this could damage the tower itself, the sea-fastening and/or other components on deck of the feeder. Increasing the limiting wave height is a must in order to make the direct installation method more practicable. This can firstly be done by using more tower segments. Therefore, reducing the size of each segment. Another option is to implement a motion compensation tool that decouples the motions of the feeder and the tower. The third option is to design a seafastening system that reduces the moment after the release, a temporary counteracting toppling system. All in all, can be stated that safely releasing a 20 MW tower segment on a floating barge is highly challenging and more research is required to solve the issues that are found in this research. This is necessary to allow the direct feeder method to be used for future offshore wind installation projects in the U.S.
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Frequency domain analysis
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© 2022 Marius Smorenberg