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Delegates in attendance at the second Universal Foundation Workshop recently in Hamburg heard how suction technology will be the answer to significant cost reduction for the offshore wind industry.

Attended by 130 leading experts, the event provided a unique platform for open sharing of information concerning suction bucket technology in offshore wind and followed the hugely successful introduction workshop which took place in 2014.

“We had to double the capacity of the event for 2015 after last years’ workshop was oversubscribed” said Kristian Ascanius Jacobsen, Head of Business Development at Universal Foundation. “We are very proud to see so many key people taking interest in our workshops. To us it is a clear sign that suction buckets are gaining rapid traction in the industry and our clients are realising the significant technical, environmental and commercial benefits the technology can bring to their portfolio”.

The event was opened by announcing that Universal Foundation’s concept from now on will be named the “Mono Bucket”. This was followed by a surprise visit from Mr. Fred. Olsen who took to the stage to share his vision of significant cost reductions in the offshore wind industry – setting the scene perfectly for the two day event. Participants’ recognised that Fred. Olsen, who has vast experience in offshore and marine business, is passionate about offshore wind and sees the Mono Bucket as one of the critical steps forward in delivering the cost reduction in support of his vision.

Mr. Fred. Olsen gave delegates a sneak preview of a new concept utilising the Mono Bucket to support movable accommodation and service units, due to be officially launched at EWEA Offshore this week.

Throughout the event delegates received a unique insight into Universal Foundation’s Mono Bucket, including the operational experience from the two Mono Bucket foundations supporting met. masts at the Dogger Bank site in the UK since 2013, and the key lessons learned from the Trial Installation – the most recent offshore campaign which was successfully concluded in September 2014.

Marc Costa Ros, Senior Manager at the Carbon Trust highlighted the strong support the suction bucket technology continues to receive under the Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) programme. He pointed out that the two met. mast Mono Buckets gave the industry partners an appetite to initiate the Trial Installation campaign and in parallel, launch the DONG Energy suction bucket jacket concept.

“The Trial Installation is a comprehensive joint industry effort between Statoil, Statkraft, E.ON, DONG Energy, Carbon Trust, Aalborg University and EUDP. Based on the 29 installations performed in a record breaking 24 days, we have secured the partners access to a unique soil data base” said Mr. Jacobsen. “We have gained highly valuable information about soil sensitivity, penetration ability, control of verticality, new installation techniques, seabed levelling ability and more. The project was recognized by all as one of the final major steps towards de-risking of suction technology in the offshore wind industry”.

The audience also heard from clients and third parties including presentations from Tor Inge Tjelta from Statoil who shared close to 30 years of experience with suction technology from oil and gas, Gerrit Schmitt from Mareval who presented the lessons learned from using suction technology to deploy the transformer station at Global Tech I and Michael Hauschildt from DNV GL who gave guidance on the requirements from the certifying community’s perspective. Professor Dr. Martin Skiba closed day one with reflections on the market developments in Germany.

Day two saw the focus on how the Mono Bucket design can be driven towards large scale deployment. Jonathan Guest from Harland & Wolff discussed how the industry can learn and adapt LEAN principles from the automotive industry. Barbara Zuiderwijk, founder and partner of Green Giraffe, completed the session by addressing how innovations can be accepted by the financing community.

Building on last years’ success, participants were once again encouraged to share their honest opinions and concerns in an open and informal setting. Panel discussions both days demonstrated active and constructive engagement from all participants.

“This helps us to continuously improve the Mono Bucket and build on the industry’s shared knowledge of suction technology as a whole. It provides an ideal opportunity for us to address any outstanding questions in the industry.”

With the second event concluded we look forward to seeing delegates back next year. Now that the Mono Bucket has completed the testing phase it is ready for commercial projects and we soon hope to announce a commercial demonstration project with a Mono Bucket supporting a multi MW turbine”, concludes Mr. Jacobsen.

Universal Foundation also looks forward to welcoming participants at EWEA Offshore to their exhibition stand (C2-A18), shared with related companies Fred. Olsen Windcarrier and Global Wind Service, where Mr. Fred. Olsen’s preview announcement at the workshop will be revealed.

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