The Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) has been awarded a $700,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to conduct research on the design conditions for offshore wind energy structures.
The research objective of the SRNL project is to develop new methods for determining the design basis of offshore structures for the Outer Continental Shelf on the Atlantic seaboard.
The Atlantic environment presents unique design challenges related to breaking waves in the relatively shallow water, according to SRNL. The research will use models to identify areas susceptible to breaking waves that produce slam loading on structures. In addition, buoys equipped with sensors for measuring the load from breaking waves will be deployed to validate the models and test new sensors.
The study area ranges from Cape Hatteras, N.C., to West Palm Beach, Fla. Estimates indicate that this area has a potential 134 GW of wind resources in water less than 30 meters deep, representing approximately 25% of the potential for the entire East Coast in water of similar depth.
The research will take place over the next three years. SRNL's research partners include Coastal Carolina University, the DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory and MMI Engineering.
The funding is part of $43 million awarded by the DOE to offshore wind development projects in the U.S.