Remotely Installed Anchorages for Floating Offshore Wind and Other Offshore Renewables Cost Reduction

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OPEN 2021
Waimanalo, Hawaii
Project Term:
08/19/2022 - 08/18/2024

Critical Need:

The U.S. has limited locations suitable for fixed offshore wind. As such, the U.S. will largely rely on floating offshore wind turbines (FOWT) to reach offshore wind goals. While FOWT platforms can be installed in the U.S.’s deeper waters, current anchoring technologies limit where these systems can be cost-effectively installed. Drag embedment anchors and suction piles meet the strength requirements for FOWT, but are limited to locations that have many meters of softer soil or sediment built up on the seafloor. Similarly, most sites for marine hydrokinetic (MHK) devices are absent of sediment and have seabed conditions that necessitate large and expensive existing anchoring solutions.

Project Innovation + Advantages:

The Makai Ocean Engineering team will develop novel mooring and anchoring methods to reduce the costs of offshore renewable energy. Makai will enable grid-scale FOWT and MHK systems to be deployed in areas that would otherwise be inaccessible or too expensive with current mooring and anchoring technologies. At the center of this program is Makai’s Remote Anchoring and MicroPiling (RAMP) system, which can remotely install micropiles on the seafloor. The micropiles enable an anchorage strong enough to secure FOWT or MHK systems, negating the need for large drag embedment anchors, drilled piles, or huge gravity base anchors that all require large and costly equipment and vessels for installation. This system has the potential to dramatically reduce the initial installation costs and allow for wind farms and other offshore renewable energies to be deployed in locations that would otherwise not be feasible.

Potential Impact:

Subsea micropiles provide improved anchoring strength for FOWT and MHK at lower cost.


Makai’s RAMP system will allow the U.S. to increase its ocean energy portfolio by providing strong and reliable anchoring that will withstand harsh environments.


The teams technology innovation enables the formation and installation of robust load bearing micropile groups for anchoring FOWT in a cost-effective and environmentally benign manner.


RAMP is able to drill and grout an array of micropiles that provides the same strength as traditional methods at a fraction of both the material and installation costs.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Mario Garcia-Sanz
Project Contact:
Richard Argall
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