Installations in maritime environments are colonized by marine growth after only a short exposure to seawater. The dimensioning and design of offshore wind turbines requires extensive knowledge of the loads and load flows acting on them. In practice, marine fouling is taken into account with dimensionless coefficients for wave and current loads. In practice, the coefficients are often chosen with high safety margins due to a lack of detailed knowledge.
For reasons of efficiency as well as optimization in the determination of the service life of existing plants, the selection of realistic load coefficients offers a potential which is to be exploited by the pursued research concept. The challenge of an exact determination of these coefficients lies, among other things, in the lack of studies on components with living marine growth. The reason for this is the current lack of suitable facilities for experimental testing purposes that allow the testing of living marine growth under laboratory conditions. The research project aims at the investigation of force coefficients with living marine growth in the laboratory, provides more precise information on the fluctuation ranges and remedies the lack of suitable test facilities.
The research project uses a saltwater suitable test bed to be constructed with combined wave current conditions and a water treatment facility. Components to be covered with marine growth will first be installed at suitable locations in the North Sea and then tested in the test bed facility in Braunschweig after sufficient settlement of marine growth. Sampling and taxonomic investigations will provide information on realistic marine growth. As a result, the fluctuation ranges of the force coefficients can be reduced for dimensioning as well as for service life and recalculation considerations. Industrially used tools are optimized and operator concepts are improved, and service life considerations are answered in a more cost optimized way.