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25,000 tonne crane installs the UK’s first 'gigantic, game-changing' wind turbine foundation



On Sunday, the Asian Hercules III, one of the world’s largest floating cranes has installed the first of 11-gigantic suction bucket jacket foundations at the European Offshore Wind Development Centre (EOWDC) in Aberdeen Bay. 

Hercules III floating crane in action


Weighing the equivalent of almost 10 Boeing 747’s, the 1,800 tonne steel jacket foundations needed a strong machine to lift it and the 25,000 tonne Asian Hercules III was up to the task.

To reduce the amount of noise generated, the suction bucket foundations are installed with a single offshore lift. This is because noisy hydraulic rams typically drive piles into the sea floor, so Vattenfall said the suction buckets bring “considerable” environmental benefits.

Engineers lower them into the water, where the upturned buckets rapidly embed into the seabed to create secure foundations. Later in spring, they will serve as the base for the world’s most powerful turbines, the record-breaking V164-8.4MW.

“By enabling faster and smarter installation, the technology will drive down offshore wind costs considerably, provide a further foundation option at challenging sites, whilst also allowing an easier and complete decommissioning,” said project director Adam Ezzamel. 

As Scotland’s largest offshore test and demonstration facility, the 92.4MW EOWDC will trial next-generation technology and will potentially generate the equivalent of 70% of Aberdeen's domestic electricity demand, annually displacing 132,977 tonnes of CO2.

According to Paul Wheelhouse, Scottish energy minister, the centre is an opportunity to show how continued innovation can reduce the cost of offshore wind. “It is fantastic to, at long last, see the first installation of the project’s offshore infrastructure.”


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25,000 tonne crane installs the UK’s first 'gigantic, game-changing' wind turbine foundation - Time to read 2 min
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