Clay Tectonics

Seismic surveys have revealed clay tectonic deformations in the Belgian part of the North Sea. The Clay Tectonics project investigates to which extent these deformations should and can be taken into account in the construction of offshore wind farms off our coast.
Jan - Jun 2023
DBC project, National project

The Clay Tectonic project focuses on the presence of subsurface deformations caused by clay tectonics, so-called Clay Tectonic Features (CTFs). These include large-scale polygonal fracture networks and various other deformations (folded layers, diapirs, etc.).

Such deformations were reported in the subsoil of the Princess Elisabeth zone, among others, where the new Belgian offshore wind farms will be built. The presence of CTFs in the substrate of offshore wind farms can have a significant impact on the design and installation of wind turbine foundations.

To date, no research has been conducted on this issue. This project aims to deliver the scientific basis for solutions to deal with the presence of CTFs in the substrate of offshore wind projects. This way, the partners aim to reduce the levelised cost of energy (LCOE), where both CAPEX and OPEX elements can be influenced. 

The project results will be relevant for the foundation design, the installation procedure and/or the spatial layout of offshore wind farms. In addition, they will also be valuable for OPEX aspects such as life cycle optimisation and structural health monitoring of offshore turbines. Finally, they will provide the necessary underpinning for the quantification of foundation-related risks, which can be used as input for the business case and insurance frameworks of future offshore wind projects. 

Partners: Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ); Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) - Acoustics & Vibration Research Group (AVRG) / OWI-Lab; and Ghent University - Renard Centre of Marine Geology (RCMG).

With the support of: VLAIO (Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship)

Contact: Eveline Buyck 

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