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QUADRAT DTP CASE: Environmental Impacts of Offshore Wind Turbines: A life cycle assessment of Bottom-fixed versus Floating Wind Turbine Concepts

Project Description

Laws enacted by the UK and devolved administration mandates achieving net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050. Floating offshore wind is a key technology to decarbonize electricity generation as the sites available for fixed structures are limited. Alternative wind turbine foundations have been introduced for both bottom-fixed and floating concepts. Depending on the depth, offshore site and environmental conditions, different types of floaters and fixed-structures are used to support wind turbines. This is normally selected by considering various types of load calculation to assess structural integrity and robustness of the entire system. However, the environmental impacts of different support structures may be different and can influence the selection of a specific concept. In this research, the sustainability of alternative bottom-fixed (such as monopile, tripod, jacket, etc.) and floating wind turbines (such as semisubmersible, spar, TLP, etc.) with different anchoring systems (suction, piles, etc.) will be assessed and compared for their environmental impact. In particular the lifecycle GHG cost of the turbines and associated structures OPEX and CAPEX and the total lifetime electricity generation will be evaluated to determine the actual electricity GHG cost in g CO2e per kWh for the various turbine designs. The impact of the different structures on natural capital and the associated ecosystem services will be evaluated with particular attention given to the impact on fisheries and major changes to the marine environment. This PhD project will engage with the offshore wind industry to enhance the Environmental Impact assessment of the various structures to minimize electricity GHG cost and help design mitigation strategies for impact on critical marine receptors, such as fisheries.

This project is supported by Marine Scotland Science as a CASE partner.


Candidates should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum of a 2.1 Honours degree in a relevant subject. Applicants with a minimum of a 2.2 Honours degree may be considered providing they have a Distinction at Master’s level.


• Apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Biological Sciences
• State name of the lead supervisor as ‘Name of Proposed Supervisor’ on application
• State ‘QUADRAT DTP’ as Intended Source of Funding
• Select the ‘Visit Website’ to apply now

Funding Notes

This project is funded by the NERC QUADRAT-DTP and is available to UK/EU nationals who meet the UKRI eligibility criteria. Please visit View Website for more information.

The studentship provides funding for tuition fees, stipend and a research training and support grant subject to eligibility.


Offshore wind energy revolution to provide a third of all UK electricity by 2030

Anders Myhr, Catho Bjerkseter, Anders Ã…gotnes, Tor A. Nygaard, Levelised cost of energy for offshore floating wind turbines in a life cycle perspective, Renewable Energy 66 (2014) 714-728


How good is research at Aberdeen University in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 89.42

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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