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Application of Sediment Transport Technologies to Offshore Energy Installations

Date: October 15, 2013 at 17:29 GMT

Abstract: Development and implementation of technologies to harness offshore energy will require large installations and inner cable arrays that are often located significant distances offshore. Deployed technologies typically require systems to be anchored through sediments and into the ocean floor with cables laid beneath the sediments. Critical to the successful deployment of offshore energy generating technologies is an assessment of the impacts from sediment transport on both individual devices and device arrays. Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) has unique expertise specifically relevant to cable installations in the seabed. Because areas with adequate wind or wave resources typically correspond to regions of significant wave, current, and sediment activity, the effects of post-installation sediment erosion and transport processes must be considered. In many cases, combined wave- and current-driven sediment transport will be important.

SNL’s efforts in this arena have born recent innovations in measurement and modeling techniques and have significant implications for sediment transport prediction in combined wave/current environments that could be applied to wind- or wave-farm applications and their associated cable arrays. The purpose of this research is to develop and provide a predictive tool, applicable to installations (including buried cable arrays) where a variety of structural, hydrodynamic, and sediment conditions can be assessed. 

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