As part of our Offshore Wind Accelerator we have launched a £2.4 million project, Improved Fatigue Life of Welded Jacket Connections (JaCo), with the aim of cutting the cost of offshore wind by optimising the design of jacket foundations through improved fatigue standards and validation of faster testing and fabrication methods. Jacket foundations are set to become a more dominant design solution, as monopiles are unlikely to be practical for many future offshore wind farms located in deeper water sites and with larger turbines, so through the JaCo project we hope to develop a better understanding of fatigue performance by testing full-size jacket nodes made from existing manual and novel automated welding processes. Coupled with improved standards it is estimated that a weight reduction of 10 percent can be achieved if the fatigue resistance (strength) is enhanced by 10-20 percent through optimised design.
The project will also help to facilitate close collaboration between developers, supply chain, research organisations and government. Leading offshore wind developers Ørsted, EnBW, Equinor, Scottish Power Renewables and Vattenfall are supporting the project together with funding from the Scottish Government.
Belgian material research centre OCAS will use unique and efficient testing techniques developed in-house to reduce the time needed to complete fatigue tests. This investigation of fatigue performance of full-scale jacket node designs will encompass a larger number of individual tests than would otherwise be possible with the constraints of conventional testing and the project’s duration. The Carbon Trust, as project coordinator, is working with OCAS and industry partners to ensure program delivery including the accelerated testing, numerical analysis and sourcing of nodes. The JaCo project will run over a 3-year period and will help to drive the use of jackets as one of the leading fixed offshore wind foundation types in the future.