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ABC Screw Piles: Foundation Solutions for Wind Turbines

Wind Turbines are located up and down the UK - and with a push for a more sustainable energy options for the near future, the demand in speed for construction is rising...

"In 2022, it is reported that overall 48.5% of electricity came from renewable and nuclear power, compared to 40% from gas and coal power stations" - Wind generated a record amount of electricity in 2022 - BBC News

With an increasing demand year on year with turbine construiction, and all industries attempting to hit their sustainability targets for the foreseeable years, we though it best to explore the use of screw piles in ticking all of the right boxes...

Wind Turbine being installed with crane

1. Ease and Speed of Installation

Screw piles can be installed quickly and efficiently using specialized equipment, reducing installation time compared to traditional foundations. This is particularly advantageous in remote or challenging terrains.

Typically you can install a 2m section of screw piles within a couple of minutes with instant loading available straight afterwards - cutting the hours of curing time required with traditional concrete foundations.

Torque head installing screw pile into the ground

2. Minimal Environmental Impact

Installation of screw piles typically involves minimal disruption to the surrounding environment. There is less soil disturbance and excavation compared to other foundation types, making them more environmentally friendly.

With screw piles, there is little to no need of prior excavation unless using alongside concrete slabs / pads or unless excavation has been planned into the structural design, meaning no muckaway with pile designs considering the versatile nature of our screw piles.

3. Versatility in Soil Types

Screw piles can be used in various soil conditions, including cohesive soils, loose soils, and even in the presence of groundwater. Their helical design allows them to penetrate different types of soil, providing versatility in deployment locations.

Soils are evenly displaced around the flights of our screw piles, meaning that their is no major soil displacement or imbalance in the natural environments during construction and installation.

Handheld torquehead installing screwpile into the ground

4. Cost Effective

The simplified installation process and reduced need for large amounts of concrete contribute to cost savings.

Additionally, the ability to work in challenging terrains without the need for extensive earthworks or additional support structures can make screw pile foundations a cost-effective option.

5. Load Capacity

Screw piles are designed to handle heavy vertical and horizontal loads, making them suitable for supporting the substantial weight and dynamic forces associated with wind turbines. They provide a stable and secure foundation for the structures.

We have designed in the past conical extensions and terminations to account for the horizontal loadings exerted on tall standalone structures, with multiple connection details and drawings available from past projects installed by the team and our network.

Conical screwpiles stacked in stillages

6. Adaptability to Changing Wind Turbine Technology

Screw pile foundations are adaptable and can accommodate changes or upgrades in wind turbine technology. If there is a need to replace or upgrade turbines, the existing screw pile foundations may still be suitable, minimizing the need for extensive modifications.

7. Reduced Noise and Vibration During Installation

The installation process of screw piles is generally quieter compared to other foundation methods, reducing noise pollution in the surrounding areas. Additionally, vibrations are typically minimized, which can be important in sensitive environments.

8. Ease of Decommissioning

When wind turbines reach the end of their life cycle, the decommissioning process for screw pile foundations is relatively straightforward. The removal process is less invasive compared to other foundation types, leaving less impact on the site.

For more information on our range of piles, in-house designs or supply and installer networks - get in touch down below:

A line of wind turbines on the horizon


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