The Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LeedCo) consortium, in partnership with Norwegian vessels provider Fred Olsen Windcarrier, is developing the project. Parent company Fred Olsen holds a 60% stake in Universal Foundation.
A Mono Bucket foundation uses a monopile tower attached to a bucket structure. It is installed using a suction system, allowing it to anchor to the seabed. The design removes the need for hammering or drilling, reducing noise, time and cost.
It also has an incorporated transition piece that avoids the use of grouting. The foundation can be easily removed by reversing the installation process, allowing it to be recycled or reused at another site.
Universal Foundation will assist LeedCo in optimising the design of the foundation, which will be manufactured in the US. A final design is expected in 2016 and construction to begin in 2018.
In 2013, LeedCo carried out a survey which found monopile foundations could be used at the project site. But a LeedCo evaluation team has now decided the lighter, cheaper foundation will be used instead. In December 2014, LeedCo set up a consortium of US firms to design and manufacture the foundations domestically.
The foundation has received support from the UK's Carbon Trust offshore wind accelerator programme. A prototype was installed in Denmark in 2002, with a Vestas V90 3MW turbine installed on it. The foundation is also being used to support two met masts at Dogger Bank in the UK.
The demonstration Icebreaker project is planned for Lake Erie, Ohio, in northern US.
Windpower Monthly 5th Annual Future Offshore Foundations Forum, 3-5 November 2015, Bremen, Germany