We were the technical lead for an industry collaboration which calculated the structural integrity of the structures used to support wind turbines.

Key facts

    We worked on setting new design standards for offshore wind turbines support structures.

  • Funded by The £3 million project was funded by a consortium of offshore wind operators led by Centrica Renewables, DONG Energy, EDF Energy, Energie Baden-Württemberg (EnBW), E.ON UK, RWE, SSE, Statkraft, Statoil, Vattenfall, Siemens, The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), and The Crown Estate in the UK.

Impact of our research

The project led to new design standards for the design and operation of offshore wind turbine support structures. The improved knowledge from this joint industry project will contribute to a better understanding of the response and life expectancy of these assets, helping to improve future designs and optimise operations and maintenance requirements for existing fleet. Ultimately this has the potential to make a significant contribution driving down the cost of offshore wind energy.

Why the research was commissioned

Wind turbines and their supporting structures are subjected to extreme conditions. Particularly in offshore locations, they are constantly exposed to wave and wind forces. This can introduce both fatigue and corrosion damage.

It is critical that the data used to design and build these structures is as precise and relevant as possible to support the quantitative risk assessment for offshore developers and operators to maximise safety.

Why Cranfield?

Cranfield has a sustained track record in research related to Structural Integrity as well as working closely with companies to delivery applied research of direct benefit to the industry.

Facilities used

An extensive part of the experiments having taken place throughout this programme have taken place within the Mechanical Test Lab at Cranfield.