Bridgeen Barron

Project Title: The use of suction embedded plate anchors for mooring floating wave energy devices

Supervisor: Dr. Conleth O’Loughlin

Funding Body: IT Sligo President’s Bursary Awards

Description of the project

The wave energy industry internationally is still at an early stage of development, with the majority of installations being reduced-scale prototypes that are anchored to the seabed in shallow water using conventional mooring arrangements comprising catenary moorings and drag embedment anchors. Whilst the costs associated with these conventional mooring and anchoring systems can be borne by a demonstration project where the aim is to prove the wave energy technology, these costs would be prohibitively expensive and economically unviable for a fully commercial wave farm, operating in deeper waters.

Suction Embedded PLate Anchors (SEPLAs) have been demonstrated as a technically efficient and economical anchoring system for anchoring oil and gas facilities in soft clay deposits in deep water. The proposed project aims to investigate the geotechnical performance of SEPLAs in sand as this is the soil type dominant in the relatively shallow water where wave energy devices are expected to be deployed. Considering the scarcity of experimental data from field and laboratory tests, the main objective of the proposed project is to develop an experimental database by conducting an extensive suite of reduced scale centrifuge tests. Such a database would have considerable merit in the development of design charts and verification of analytical techniques to predict anchor capacity for geometry specific plate anchors and site specific conditions. The second major objective therefore, is to develop a design tool that is practical, cost effective and technically sound so that it can be readily implemented by the offshore renewable energy industry.