Panagiotis Michalis, Mohamed Saafi, and Martin Judd – Proceedings of the ICE – Energy, November 2013
One of the main challenges in the design and operation of offshore wind turbines arises from the uncertainty about maximum scour depth around their foundations. Scour action can lead to excessive excavation of the surrounding seabed and is being considered as a major risk for offshore wind farm developments. An ability to gather information concerning the evolution of scouring will enable the validation of models derived from laboratory-based studies, the assessment of different engineering designs and the development of improved scour countermeasure techniques. However, real-time scour data are not being collected due to a lack of available instrumentation techniques. This paper proposes a new scour monitoring technology for offshore wind turbine installations. The monitoring system consists of arrays of small capacitive scour probes installed around the foundation structure and linked to a wireless network to enable remote data acquisition. Based on this research, it is concluded that the sensor is capable of exhibiting high sensitivity to scour and sediment deposition processes for common sea floor mediums under different temperature conditions in saline water. The proposed monitoring system has considerable potential for field applications that will contribute to improving the resilience and sustainability of offshore structures.