Fundamental Research & Commercialization

2024 DOE Voucher Program: Renewable Energy Solutions Fundraising Road-Mapping and Capture Planning 

The voucher propels DERA from ARL of 3-4 to higher levels, strategically aligning with government initiatives and securing substantial investments. It supports comprehensive fundraising, attracting investors in renewable energy initiatives. The effects position DERA for accelerated growth, seamlessly advancing into the front-end engineering design (FEED) phase and integrating technical and non-technical considerations. (More info)

2023-2024 DOE SBIR: Deeply Embedded Ring Anchor System for Floating Offshore Wind Turbines 

Deep Anchor Solutions (College Station, TX) will develop anchor systems for floating offshore wind turbines. The development of innovative anchor types is essential to achieving the full potential of floating offshore wind power. Novel anchor designs that use advanced materials and engineering concepts can provide increased strength and durability while reducing weight and cost.  (More info)

2022-2024 NSF PFI-TT: Cost-Effective Anchor for Offshore, Floating, Energy-harvesting Wind Towers 

The proposed project will focus on the commercialization of a new anchor design for floating offshore wind turbines. A key feature of the anchor is its high efficiency, which permits a compact size that is still capable of resisting the load demand from 15 MW or larger wind turbines. The anchor is installable in virtually any soil profile and can provide a high vertical load demand, overcoming major limitations of most existing anchors. As the load capacity does not depend on transient suction, the anchor capacity does not diminish under sustained loading. The circular symmetry permits use in a shared anchor system when site conditions permit. The anchor can be deployed in catenary, taut, and tension-leg systems, maximizing the flexibility of mooring system designers to accommodate environmental constraints. A key task in this research will be reduced scale model tests simulating the insertion and pullout of the anchor, so installation disturbance effects can be assessed. This project also seeks to refine the structural design of the anchor and the installation follower system with a view toward minimizing fatigue damage. This research may produce an anchor and follower system design fully ready for field-scale pilot tests. (More Info.)

2020-2023 NSF GOALI: Novel and Efficient Seabed Ring Anchor for Omnidirectional Loading 

This Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) project will support a research team to develop models for the loading placed on multiline ring anchors subjected to wind, waves and other forces. A Multiline Ring Anchor (MRA) is a ring-shaped anchor designed to be deeply embedded in offshore soils for the purposes of anchoring multiple floating platforms. The increase in offshore development in the wind energy, wave energy and aquaculture sectors requires multiple closely spaced nominally identical platforms that need this type of omni-directional anchor. This novel configuration differs substantially from the typical oil and gas installation and allows consideration of sharing anchors among multiple platforms, thereby driving down capital, material, fabrication and installation costs and duration significantly. Previous simulation-based research conducted by the research team has shown that this concept is feasible but that truly leveraging the advantages of multiline anchoring will require novel anchor designs that can be installed quickly and inexpensively and that also deliver omni-directional capacity and resistance to cyclic loading. To achieve this, the research team will develop models for the loading placed on the anchors from wind, waves and other forces; perform reduced-scale centrifuge tests to provide data on the behavior of MRA systems under these loads; and develop numerical models to assess the behavior of the anchors under multiple loading scenarios. This research project includes a collaboration with an industrial partner, Vryhof Anchors, to ensure that results are driven by the needs of industry and can move rapidly to further industry-driven technology development.

In order to demonstrate proof-of-concept for the MRA, a series of research tasks are planned that will quantify stochastic and time-varying loads placed on the anchor by wind, wave and aquaculture platforms. Additionally, the team will develop conceptual MRA designs based on finite element and plastic limit analysis and assess the suitability of the MRA for sand and clay conditions by a range of methods including centrifuge testing. These tasks will enable the development of fundamental understanding of the response of embedded anchors to cyclic and directionally varying loading. The team will deliver a system evaluation for realistic installations that will provide the impetus for further demonstration-scale research into the MRA. Fundamental advances in understanding the dynamics of interconnected offshore systems as well as the response of deeply embedded anchors in different types of soil to complex loading form the core of the intellectual merit. (More Info.)

2021-2022 NOWRDC Vibratory-Installed Bucket Foundation for Fixed Foundation Offshore Wind Towers 

Vibratory installation provides a promising alternative to suction installation in that it is feasible under a much wider range of soil conditions and has environmental benefits. This study investigates vibratory installation of bucket foundations as a possible alternative installation method. 

2021-2022 NSF I-Corps: Multiline Ring Anchor for Floating Offshore Structures 

This I-Corps project is based on the merging of two research areas associated with the development of the Multiline Ring Anchor (MRA). The first involves wind and wave modeling to quantify the stochastic, time-varying loads placed on platforms that are transmitted through the mooring lines down to the anchor. This study considers different platform types and both catenary and taut mooring systems. The second research area involves investigation of the geotechnical performance of the anchor when subjected to such loading. This research thrust comprises parallel numerical simulations and geotechnical centrifuge tests of the MRA embedded in clay and sand soils. The geotechnical studies aim to quantify the maximum mooring line loads that the MRA is capable of resisting and to confirm that repeated load cycles will not induce gradual upward ratcheting movements of the anchor, which could deleteriously affect anchor performance. The wind/wave modeling and geotechnical studies will provide insights and knowledge extending beyond the direct focus of this study and can be applicable to other mooring systems and anchors. (More Info)

2015-2020 NSF GOALI: Efficient Multiline Mooring Systems for Floating Wind Turbines

The principal goal of this research is to provide a path to transformation of offshore floating wind farm design from one in which turbines mooring systems are designed and constructed individually to one in which the mooring system for the entire wind farm is designed as a networked system with greatly increased material and installation efficiency. Specific research objectives are to: (1) generate idealized soil stratigraphies; (2) explore the geometric design space for wind farm layout compatible with the multiline concept; (3) develop spatially correlated wind wave models for the extent of an offshore wind farm; (4) model mooring line forces as correlated random processes; (5) analyze anchor behavior using 3D finite element analysis; (6) evaluate candidate multiline anchor designs for feasibility and cost. The project achieves broad impact through the Vryhof industrial collaboration and partnership with demonstration projects based at UMaine. Educational synergy occurs through the graduate education activities of the UMass Wind Energy IGERT program and the UMass STEM Diversity Institute and Texas A&M AGEP programs.  (More Info.)

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