Suction Caissons in Soft Clay for Tidal Current Turbine Applications

Jeff F. Wallace, Cassandra J. Rutherford

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


The exploration into the use of offshore renewable energy resources has been driven by increases in oil and gas prices and the drive to reduce oil dependence. One such offshore renewable energy resource is the tidal current captured through the use of a tidal current turbine. As the tidal current turbine is still in the development and prototyping phase, optimizing the entire system's efficiency and reliability (including the foundation) is key to its successful implementation. Harnessing the tidal current requires turbine blades to interact with the flow of water, unlike the vast majority of offshore energy structures that attempt to minimize this interaction. Standard operating loads on the foundations of tidal current turbines are a result of the rotating turbine blades, fluctuations in tidal current speed and direction, wave loading, turbulence, and vibrations. Suction caisson foundations provide a viable foundation option for tidal current turbines in soft marine clays as they are "green" in that they can be removed at the end of their design life and are able to provide both compressive and uplift resistance in response to the significant horizontal loading when in the tetrapod configuration. The behavior of suction caissons in soft clay in the tetrapod configuration with an aspect ratio of 1 is investigated under monotonic and cyclic vertical loading applicable to tidal current turbine design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)492-502
Number of pages11
JournalGeotechnical Special Publication
Issue number270 GSP
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016
Event2nd Geo-Chicago Conference: Geotechnics for Sustainable Energy, Geo-Chicago 2016 - Chicago, United States
Duration: Aug 14 2016Aug 18 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


Dive into the research topics of 'Suction Caissons in Soft Clay for Tidal Current Turbine Applications'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this