Synthetic Coring: Derivation of virtual geotechnical subsoil data from seismic inversion and geostatistical data integration – SynCore.


Funding: Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK)
Funding amount: 995.000 EUR
Partner: Fraunhofer IWES (project coordination), Fraunhofer ITWM, University of Bremen, GuD Geotechnik und Dynamik Consult GmbH, RWE Renewables GmbH (formerly Innogy SE)
Duration: 03/2020 - 12/2023


  • The planning and development of offshore wind farms involves a variety of different subsoil investigation procedures.
  • The goal of the SynCore research project is to support the development of a 3D subsoil model in which geophysical and geotechnical exploration results can be integrated and from which the draft parameters for designing the foundations of offshore wind turbines can be derived.
  • Seismic inversion is applied to ensure adequate use of the geophysical data: an innovative method from the offshore oil and gas industry which is being made available to the offshore wind industry.

Before an offshore wind farm can be constructed, a series of subsoil examinations have to be performed. The exploration data obtained in this way are processed for the technical design and safe foundation structure of offshore wind turbines. The geotechnical properties required for the design are essentially measured during the main exploration campaign. A large number of local subsoil samples are needed, especially in geologically complex areas. Such samples are both time-consuming and expensive to collect.

Progress in terms of the characterization of marine sediments using area-wide, ship-based methods is therefore of central importance in order to enable a quicker and more cost-effective method of assessing the risk of offshore wind farm construction. To this end, seismic procedures are used, the results of which can be integrated into 3D subsoil models reliably and at low cost.

3D subsoil models which are generated using geophysical and geotechnical data allow for greater flexibility when planning and developing offshore wind farms. With the help of these models, design parameters can be derived for any point in the planned wind farm area. This allows planners to react well to offshore wind farm layout changes, which, given the long planning cycles and, at the same time, short cycles for technical innovations to turbines and foundation structures, are not only very likely but also very frequent and regularly present great challenges to planners and developers.

The goal of the SynCore research project is to develop a comprehensive methodology which summarizes methods of subsurface investigation, model development, geostatic evaluation, and the technical design of foundation structures in order to render them available to the offshore wind energy industry. The result will be an encompassing, 3D, quantitative, and fail-safe subsoil model, the parameters of which can be used for designing offshore wind turbine foundation structures at any point in the wind farm.

The Fraunhofer IWES is coordinating the joint project and is investigating within the scope of its own sub-project research questions into the process of seismic inversion and its adaptation to the subsoil conditions of unconsolidated rock as well as to geostatistical methods for the integration of diverse geological, seismic, and geotechnical data sets.

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