04 Aug BLOG – SELKIE Tool Series: Foundations & Mooring systems
Foundations, anchors, and mooring systems are key components in marine renewable energy, not only because they keep devices on station and secured against extreme environmental loads but because they can also influence power production, particularly for floating systems where the efficiency of the energy extraction can depend on the motion of the device. These systems also represent a large proportion of the total cost for a marine energy project: mooring and anchoring costs are often quoted as representing 10-30% of the installed costs for marine energy devices, as compared to 2-3% for floating oil and gas facilities. This, coupled with the fact that array developments will require efficient and reliable systems to be produced in large numbers, makes the design of foundations and mooring systems crucial to the success of marine energy projects.
As part of work package 5, Gavin & Doherty Geosolutions (GDG) and partners are producing a new, open-source tool to assist with the design of foundations, anchors, and mooring systems for marine energy projects. The framework for this new tool is outlined in deliverable report D5.1, which also describes the available technologies and design approaches, and reviews the existing design tools with a particular focus on open-source methods and applicability to marine energy projects. To inform both the report and subsequent tool framework, the GDG team undertook a comprehensive literature review, conducted a stakeholder webinar and survey to gather feedback from potential end users, and held 14 one-on-one interviews with industry and academic experts.
The new tool will be a web-based, decision-support tool designed to facilitate concept design, cost estimation, and option studies for foundations, anchors, and mooring systems. The objective for this tool will not be to eliminate the need for engineering knowledge and technical due diligence, but rather to provide a holistic view of all necessary design considerations and to facilitate the decision-making process at concept stage by enabling the rapid assessment and comparison of different design options and costs. A key strength of this tool will be its connection to other Selkie tools: the foundation, anchor, and mooring system tools will be able to import site and seabed information from the GIS tool being developed in work package 4, quickly and easily produce preliminary design and cost options based on the characteristics of the device and deployment site, and export cost estimates for the techno-economic and logistics tools being developed in work packages 4 and 8.
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