This study examines the effect of adding helical piles to the foundation mechanism of monopile installation templates. A monopile installation template is a gravity-based structure, which is placed on the seabed. The installation template is utilised for the installation of monop
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This study examines the effect of adding helical piles to the foundation mechanism of monopile installation templates. A monopile installation template is a gravity-based structure, which is placed on the seabed. The installation template is utilised for the installation of monopiles, and to ensure its verticality during this installation. At this time, challenges arise for the stability and operability of the installation templates due to the increased dimensions and mass of these structures. The increased demand for green energy leads to the growth of monopiles, in both number and size. The growth in monopile size leads to the increasing required dimensions of the installation templates. The installation templates are, however, often restricted in size and mass by the capabilities of the installation vessel.
The installation templates generally use mud-mats as foundation system to ensure stability and prevent the template from excessive settling. The mud-mats cause significant dynamic effects, especially when taken through the water line. Moreover, the sliding capacity of mud-mats is often insufficient, leading to potential sliding failure of the template. A literature review is conducted using different sources, such as reviews, offshore guidelines, research papers, and expert interviews, to investigate installation templates and different foundation mechanisms. The investigated foundation mechanisms are suction buckets, mud-mats, and (helical) piles. The literature review demonstrates that helical piles show greatest potential of being added to the mud-mat foundation. Therefore, solely helical piles are considered in the current study, and the following research question is answered: How, and to what extent, does adding helical piles affect the footprint of the monopile installation template designed for the benchmark project? The current study uses a project carried out by Heerema Marine Contractors as benchmark. All parameters of this project are used as input for the study. Findings of analytical analyses on the (environmental) loading and mud-mat capacity are validated with the benchmark project results. Subsequently, the helical pile geometry is optimised for maximum uplift capacity, using the methodology shown in the figure below. The capacity is optimised for uplift capacity, as it is assumed that the mud-mats can bear the compressive loading. Additionally, the lateral capacity would significantly increase by utilising piles, and therefore optimising for lateral capacity is not recommended. The obtained geometry, optimised for maximum uplift capacity, is then assumed to be constant and used to determine the uplift, compressive, and lateral capacity. The analysis shows a positive correlation between embedment depth and capacity (uplift, compressive, and lateral). The helical pile capacity is added to the mud-mat capacity. Consequently, effects on design variations are examined, such as reduction in template's mass and size, mud-mat size, and variations in helical pile geometry and soil parameters. The analysis shows a significant improvement in capacity of the foundation, in both compressive and lateral capacity. The uplift capacity of the helical piles ensure no uplift of mud-mats occurs. This leads to a more evenly load distribution among the mud-mats, lowering the maximum factored load on the legs. Consequently, the mud-mat size and the template's mass and dimensions could be reduced. It can be concluded that a reduction in mud-mat size directly results in the potential of reducing the template dimensions. The reduction in both template and mud-mat size would automatically lead to a decrease in mass. However, the reduction in template mass could lead to a decrease in structural performance. This should be investigated in further studies. Variations in soil characteristics show that the performance is even more enhanced in denser sands. Concluding, the helical piles have a positive influence on the template's overall capacity. The findings show that a reduction in the footprint of the template is possible, of maximum 13.6%.