The PISA (Pile Soil Analysis) project, which won the 2017 Fleming Award, was a joint industry project (JIP) which aimed to innovate and economise the design of offshore wind turbine foundations – specifically the design of laterally loaded monopiles – to ultimately reduce the cost of renewable energy. To formulate a new design methodology, which would overcome the shortcomings of conventional methods, a thorough understanding of monopile behaviour and capacities under typical loading conditions was critical. This was achieved through extensive use of numerical analyses followed by validation through large scale field testing. The research work was led by an Academic Work Group (AWG) which comprised of Oxford University, Imperial College London and University College Dublin. The project was run through the Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator with funding provided by a large consortium comprising primarily offshore wind farm developers, led by DONG Energy.
GCG were engaged to support the work of the AWG, working in particular with the Imperial College team in meeting the technical challenge of performing a large number of 3D finite element (FE) modelling, to inform the design of the test piles and field testing programmes at the clay and sand dominated on-shore test sites. Further 3D FE analyses were then performed, modelling full scale monopiles in comparable ground conditions, the results of which were used for the development of the new design approach. Moreover, GCG participated in AWG meetings where all parts of the project were discussed, including all aspects of the pile testing programme, including site investigation and monitoring, as well as the development of the new design methodology.