We recently caught up with two of our Msc. Students, Kasper Bech Skiveren (KBS) and August Pipper Riinbaek (APR), to learn about their thesis work, which they have completed in collaboration with WT and DTU. They also provide an insight into working in the world of offshore wind as young engineers and how they got to where they are today.
What are the key highlights and insights from your thesis work?
APR: Our thesis explored the modelling of non-linear soil-structure interaction for earthquake excitations. We developed a non-linear model to investigate the behaviour of offshore monopiles when exposed to earthquake loading. The industry needs a linear model, so we examined both linear and non-linear, to see where the shortcomings of the linear model are and which areas it can be applied. One of the non-linear models developed in the project, was implemented with hysteretic soil effects to quantify the effects of hysteretic damping, which is typically disregarded.
KBS: The linear and non-linear models have been implemented on an offshore wind turbine model. We have analysed the models with different sizes of earthquake loads and investigated if the linear model could describe the non-linear behaviour sufficiently. Then we have compared the results to design earthquakes from different seismic regions which are attractive wind farm locations. Thereby getting a better understanding of how to design an offshore wind turbine in seismic regions.
What process did you go through for the thesis?
KBS: The first few weeks we spent researching, then we got the model and got many of our questions answered just by looking at the model because we didn’t know completely how it was built up. We then read some more and investigated some simple problems and then started to develop a more complex model and implemented in the next few months. We then analysed the results and wrote the thesis in the final month.
Did you face any challenges? If so, how did you work to overcome them?
KBS: Having too much data! It can get a little confusing…
APR: Getting to know the structure of the code! There is a lot to get to know right at the beginning before you start to make implementations, so it can take a few weeks to properly get to know it. We found it’s very important to work collaboratively and ask each other, and also to never be afraid to ask other colleagues within the business for advice and guidance as that really helps.
KBS: Whilst we’re quite alike, we’ve also found we can think of situations quite differently which really helps too. August and I were able to work through situations together with complimentary skill sets and ways of thinking to help overcome more difficult situations.
What inspired you to pursue a career in engineering?
APR: I have always been interested in Mathematics and Physics and describing nature with math. Civil engineering seemed to fit those interests as I could use math to build and describe the forces of nature.
KBS: For me, I’ve always enjoyed looking at the technical side of things and I love when something you’re working on is something measurable and something you can actually see.
What was it that attracted you both to the world of offshore wind?
KBS: I have always found wind and waves interesting, and as a civil engineer it’s a pretty exciting place to be, not just working within the standard construction industry.
APR: I want to positively contribute to the green transition. As a civil engineer, there are a number of career paths, but offshore wind seemed like a great opportunity to make a change in the right direction. Dynamics is also very interesting and a big part of the design of offshore wind turbines.
What attracted you to Wood Thilsted?
KBS: We both like the programming side of things and we knew Wood Thilsted is good at software development and automating processes, bringing more enjoyment and variation to the day to day.
APR: We had both heard a lot of good things about working at Wood Thilsted too! One of our friends had worked at WT for one year before us and had highlighted that it’s a great place for putting into practice what we’ve learned at University and the technologies WT use are advanced and the same as we’ve been using for five years. It’s really exciting to further develop the skills we’ve recently acquired and properly utilise programmes we’ve been using but for real life work. In comparison, we’ve heard that at other companies sometimes you have to go back to using Excel!
What would you say is a highlight of your journey so far?
KBS: Gaining industry knowledge and real-life data to work with for an academic project has been invaluable. It’s given us such an incredible opportunity to learn and develop; knowledge that would be more difficult to obtain without being involved with a company like WT.
APR: Yes, definitely the opportunity to gain experience and use our knowledge from our degrees to apply in real life scenarios.
For a younger person looking to pursue a career in offshore wind engineering, what advice would you give?
KBS: Don’t be put off by bad teachers and people trying to knock you down along the way! Don’t let people tell you that you can’t do it or being able to work in this industry is out of the question. Less specific to offshore wind or engineering, but it’s also important to enjoy the people around you, so having fun and collaborating with your peers to get the most out of your education.
APR: Make a decision to take the courses that truly interest you. By doing this, you’ll enjoy it more and find yourself on the right career path. Student jobs are a great way to test out desired career paths, and they’re also great entry routes to companies. Try to secure placements during your studies to help get an idea of where you want to be and what you’ll enjoy.
What do you find most exciting about the future for offshore wind?
APR: Floating wind turbines is an exciting concept so it will be interesting to see where that goes as it’s still in the early stages of development, and I know floating is one of WT’s disciplines so look forward to seeing which floating projects are on the horizon.
KBS: It’s interesting to see the US market taking off, with the WT office opening last year and the sheer volume of future development in offshore wind. Also following our thesis work, to see development in earthquake regions like Japan. It would be great to be involved in a WT project in locations like these.
Check out August and Kasper's GIF of the simulations here!