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The London Array offshore wind farm, UK

Water depths of 25 metres and unstable soil mixtures are among the challenges facing the design team of the world's largest offshore wind farm.

Monopiles of 4.7 metres and 5.7 metres in diameter will be installed in water depths of up to 25 metres. The foundations, which have a total length of up to 85 metres, will be among the largest ever built.

COWI in charge of detailed designA consortium of DONG, E.ON and Masdar has commissioned the Aarsleff/Bilfinger Berger joint venture (ABJV) as contractor to undertake fabrication and installation of the steel foundations.

COWI is leading a joint venture with IMS GmbH, COWI-IMS JV and engaged by the ABJV to carry out the detailed design of the steel foundations.

Challenging soilThe offshore wind farm will be located on and between the sandbanks of Kentish Knock and Long Sand with a water depth of up to 25 metres. The soil includes sand profiles, stiff London clay profiles and mixtures including gravel layers. With layers potentially prone to liquefaction, the soil indeed represents a challenge to the design.

The project will be one of the first to introduce a new design of grouted connections and improvements in the geotechnical calculations of soil structure interaction to allow for an optimised design.

1,000 MW of electricityThe present project constitutes the first phase of a two-phased set-up and is expected to deliver 630 MW of electricity. Once phase two of the project is completed an expected 1,000 MW of electricity will be delivered, meeting the electricity needs of 750,000 homes in the UK.

LAST UPDATED: 03.07.2014