Optimised design of screw anchors in tension in sand for renewable energy applications

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The offshore deployment of floating offshore structures such as wind turbines or wave energy converters is expected to strongly increase during the next decade, to face the appetite for green energy sources. The growing size of these structures’ dimensions, inducing very large mooring forces, makes the anchoring solution adopted a critical issue for the commercial success of floating marine energy farms. The upscaling of the screw anchor technology from onshore to the offshore environment has been recently proposed as an efficient way of providing a large tension capacity while their installation generates far less noise and vibrations than impact pile driving. Most of recent studies on screw anchors have focused on separated geotechnical problems such as their uplift capacity or installation requirements. This paper incorporates within a single procedure geotechnical and structural constraints to calculate the optimal anchor geometry able to maximise the uplift capacity available. Performance envelopes for screw anchors have been derived in a parametric study, covering a broad range of soil conditions as well as in a case study, representative of offshore conditions. Results show that single screw anchors are more efficient (e.g. shorter and lighter) than driven piles to sustain tension loading. The results presented in this study support the applicability of screw anchors to be used as part of the mooring system for wave energy converters. However, tension requirements for tension-leg platform wind turbines would probably require the use of group of anchors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108010
Number of pages15
JournalOcean Engineering
Early online date10 Oct 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Oct 2020


  • Screw piles
  • Screw anchor
  • Sand
  • Torque
  • Renewable energy
  • Offshore geotechnics
  • Screw anchors
  • Anchor design

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    A Finite Element approach for determining the full load-displacement relationship of axially-loaded shallow screw anchors, incorporating installation effects

    Cerfontaine, B., Knappett, J., Brown, M., Davidson, C., Al-Baghdadi, T., Sharif, Y., Brennan, A., Augarde, C., Coombs, W. M., Wang, L., Blake, A., Richards, D. J. & Ball, J. D., 30 Jun 2020, In : Canadian Geotechnical Journal.

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    Open Access
  • 27 Downloads (Pure)

    Developing screw piles for offshore renewable energy application

    Brown, M. J., Davidson, C., Cerfontaine, B., Ciantia, M., Knappett, J. & Brennan, A., 2020, Advances in Offshore Geotechnics: Proceedings of ISOG2019. Haldar, S., Patra, S. & Ghanekar, R. K. (eds.). Singapore: Springer , p. 101-119 19 p. (Lecture Notes in Civil Engineering; vol. 92).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

  • 99 Downloads (Pure)

    Effects of screw pile installation on installation requirements and in-service performance using the Discrete Element Method

    Sharif, Y., Brown, M., Cerfontaine, B., Davidson, C., Ciantia, M., Knappett, J., Brennan, A., Ball, J. D., Augarde, C., Coombs, W. M., Blake, A., Richards, D., White, D., Huisman, M. & Ottolini, M., 27 Oct 2020, In : Canadian Geotechnical Journal.

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    Open Access
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