David Igoe, assistant professor in Trinity’s School of Engineering, will use a newly secured Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) grant of about €250,000 to support research into the effects of pile ageing for offshore wind foundation design. 

Dr Igoe hopes the project will deliver new insights that will help to significantly reduce the costs associated with the design of the foundation structures, where there are large gains to be made.  

The award is funded through the SEAI Research, Development and Demonstration Funding Programme 2023.  

Dr Igoe said: “For offshore wind turbines, the foundations can represent up to 30% of the overall costs and large savings can be achieved with more efficient design. This project will tackle pile ageing, the phenomenon where the foundation capacity increases significantly over time. Pile ageing is typically overlooked in offshore foundation design due to a poor understanding of the mechanisms controlling the rate of ageing.” 

Developing new insights into the physical processes of pile ageing can result in significant cost savings for the industry. 

Dr Igoe added: “The project aims to systematically test the factors influencing the ageing in offshore piles through model-scale testing using novel laboratory equipment, and also field-scale testing of aged piles up to a year to validate the model-scale tests.”