Arctic marine technology and offshore wind power in freezing sea areas
An icy marine environment is a major challenge for maritime and offshore structures. The functionality of the structures in every type of weather requires special expertise. Here at VTT, we can model and predict how ice will behave. We help you make plans that will withstand the challenging arctic and cold climate conditions. Our expertise in ice research can be applied not only to offshore wind farms, but also to all offshore structures, such as offshore wind farms.
We provide estimates on prevailing ice conditions, such as ice thickness, ice movement and ice types.
We carry out ice load design for offshore wind turbines, marine structures and ship propulsion devices for freezing sea areas. The research knowledge can be applied to power plants, bridges, or harbour structures – any structure in contact with the freezing sea.
Our top-class work is based on decades of solid experience on ice research.
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The climate is warming, but challenging ice conditions remain
While our environment is changing, the challenges of icy marine conditions remain. However, as the climate warms, ice conditions will vary widely, and extreme weather events will increase. This will create new challenges for arctic shipping; for example, ice accumulation on ships may vary significantly.
At the same time, investments in offshore wind power in freezing sea areas are increasing.
Innovations for cost-effective marine structures
Ice load design plays a key role in the development of offshore structures and ship propulsion devices, allowing them to be operationally reliable and cost-effective. The large-scale expansion of renewable energy production, such as wind power, to northern sea areas also requires new innovations for cost-effective offshore structures.
Offshore wind farms exposed to arctic winter – VTT's technology mitigates the challenge
The performance of a wind farm’s support structures and foundations in a cold marine environment is a major challenge, especially in winter when a thick ice sheet or ridge drifts and makes contact with the offshore structure. Reliable knowledge of the loads caused by ice is required to optimise the structures rationally and cost-effectively.
Ice research benefits many different sectors
When you're designing for a challenging marine environment, we at VTT can help. We can model and predict how ice will behave. Our ice research does benefit not only shipping but also all kinds of offshore structures that come into contact with icy sea conditions.
Whether it's a harbour building, a bridge, or a wind farm, we can help you ensure that your project can withstand demanding sea conditions. VTT’s expertise is based on decades of experimental and numerical ice research, with strong background theoretical knowledge of ice mechanics and an understanding of ice conditions.
Our ice load portal supports maritime spatial planning
VTT has developed a web-based ice load portal for the structural design of wind farms. The portal gives users information on the selected site's design parameters regarding environmental loads (e.g. ice, waves, wind, water depth, seabed quality), wind turbine structure design information and loads on the structure. Based on this information, the user can perform a numerical analysis in the web portal and view the functionality of the selected wind turbine structure at the selected location. Thus, the web portal also supports maritime spatial planning.
Read more about wind power in icy seas
Wind power can be made more cost effective by solving wind turbine blade erosion and wind turbine icing with data science. Explore our expertise in wind power!
Experts in arctic marine technology
We have decades of experience in ice research. Meet our world-class experts!
Maria is an expert in ice research, sea ice, and assessments of offshore wind power and arctic engineering.
Jaakko is an expert on ice research, sea ice load modeling, ice ridges, and arctic engineering.
How to work with us
There are many ways to utilise our expertise on arctic marine technology.
Tell us what you want to do, and we will figure out how to do it. No project is too small or too ambitious – we would love to hear from you. After the initial assessment, we might be able to offer some of these options.
Every research case is unique, and we’re happy to tailor our services to your needs. You will get full ownership of the intellectual property rights of any project we undertake together.
We frequently participate in research and development projects with multiple business partners and funding agencies. In cooperative projects, the risk is split between multiple organisations, and everyone benefits from the results.
Our networks at your disposal
We are happy to put you in touch with the ideal sparring and development partner.