Institute for Geotechnical Engineering Research Research Projects
ProBucket – Bucket Foundations for Offshore Wind Turbines

ProBucket – Bucket Foundations for Offshore Wind Turbines

Led by:  Prof. Dr.-Ing. Martin Achmus
Team:  M.Sc. Jann-Eike Saathoff, M.Sc. Immo Sanders, Dr.-Ing. Florian tom Wörden
Year:  2023
Funding:  BMWi / Projektträger Jülich (PtJ, Project Management Jülich)
Duration:  01.09.2020 – 31.08.2023


Further development of engineering design methods based on experimental and numerical investigations.


Suction Buckets are a promising alternative to commonly used piles for jacket structures for offshore wind turbines (OWT). The main advantages are the short installation duration, low noise emissions during installation and a relatively low penetration depth. Furthermore, suction buckets can be easily decommissioned after the lifetime of the OWT is exceeded. The application of suction buckets covers a wide range with foundations either as monopod or multipod for OWT or as mooring for floating structures. Despite the extensive experience with the application of suction buckets in the oil and gas industry, their utilisation for OWT is relatively new and thus relates to significant uncertainties.

This part of the project aims at further enhancing numerical methods for designing suction buckets. In particular, the effect of structural, geometrical and geotechnical parameters shall be assessed enabling a reliable determination of potential buckling of the suction bucket. Regarding the suction bucket’s cyclic bearing behaviour, calculation methods shall be developed or extended. These approaches will be validated by physical model tests so that uncertainties can be diminished enabling an economical design.

The Test Centre for Support Structures (TTH) will conduct unique large-scale model tests, which will be supplemented by a larger number of model tests at reduced scale by the Institute for Geotechnical Engineering (IGtH). The investigation of different geometric scales within the scope of the physical model tests allow the evaluation of scale effects. Furthermore, the observations and measurements will be utilised to validate complex numerical models. The retrospective analyses of different scales will verify the capability of extrapolating the geometric dimensions by these numerical models. Based on these examinations, a holistic parametric study at prototype scale will be conducted. The attained results will form the basis for both the enhancement of an existing calculation method and the formulation of design recommendations, which are to be discussed in expert committees and to be considered in prospective guidelines.    

Research partners: