Numerical Simulations for Installation of Offshore Wind Turbine Monopiles Using Floating Vessels
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Monopiles are the most commonly used support structures for offshore wind turbines with up to 40m water depth due to the simplicity of the structure. The installation of turbine support structures can be carried out by a jack-up vessel which provides a stable working platform. However, the operational weather window using jack-up vessels is very limited due to the low sea states required for jacking up and down. Compared to jack-up installation vessels, floating vessels have more flexibility due to fast transportations between foundations. However, the vessel motions will affect the motion responses of the lifting objects, which might bring installation difficulties. Therefore, it is necessary to examine the dynamic responses of the coupled system to ensure safe offshore operations. In this paper, the installation operation of a monopile using a floating installation vessel is studied by a numerical model. Time domain simulations were carried out to study the installation process of a monopile, including lowering phase, landing phase and steady states after landing. Sensitivity studies were performed focusing on the effects by the gripper device stiffness and landing device stiffness. Comparisons of critical responses by using floating vessel and a jack-up vessel were also studied in the paper.