To keep momentum and meet the EU targets for renewable energy, it is important to keep looking for ways to optimise the methods used to obtain wind energy. Engineer Joey Velarde is on the case.
Offshore wind technology is in rapid growth in an ever-expanding market that now has moved outside Europe to Asia, Australia and the US. With the growth follows an increasing need for constantly optimising the technologies, which is the exact objective of COWI engineer Joey Velarde’s work. Since November 2016, he has been dwelling on offshore wind turbines as part of his PhD: Fatigue Analysis of Offshore Wind Turbine Concrete Structures.
"The main goal is to be able to design offshore wind turbine support structures more effectively. That is, reducing the uncertainties in loads and resistance calculations and thereby create more cost-effective designs" Joey Velarde explains.
Some of the major factors that create uncertainties when designing the wind turbine concrete structures involve the environmental conditions – in particular soil, wind and waves. The project seeks to develop new methods for assessment of related partial safety factors and thereby reduce the cost of offshore wind energy.
New methods reduce cost
The objective is to improve the design codes of offshore wind turbine concrete structures. Some of the standards used when designing these structures are mostly on the conservative side, due to the large uncertainties related to load calculation and damage models.
Therefore, Joey Velarde wants to use probabilistic and reliability-based methods to create possibilities for innovation and avoid being bound by conventional standards.
"Possible applications of probabilistic and reliability-based methods are offshore wind projects in Southeast Asia, where COWI is currently involved. In this particular region, the environment is quite different from the North Sea. We have to design against earthquakes and bigger waves. It costs a lot to invest in offshore wind farms so naturally the client wants to make sure it is done right” Joey Velarde explains.
In instances where analysis against failure modes are not explicitly covered by the standards, probabilistic methods can be used to properly account for different sources of uncertainties, and evaluate the structural reliability if it is within acceptable limits.
Optimised designs will also reduce costs thus making wind energy an even more attractive investment globally.
"It matters a lot to me that I am working on something that contributes to renewable energy. The project is extremely challenging but I wake up every day knowing I am working towards something that helps society as a whole" Joey Velarde concludes.