Clean Energy Technology Development

Geosyntec provides mechanical, geotechnical engineering, and risk and structural assessment services to renewable and clean energy clients in markets including offshore and onshore wind energy; wave, current, and tidal energy; hydrogen production, storage, and distribution; and carbon capture and sequestration.

Our engineers support these markets at every stage of a project lifecycle including concept selection, design, construction, commissioning, operation, and decommissioning.

Onshore Wind Energy

Advances in blade design and control system technologies have resulted in larger, more efficient wind turbines. These larger systems require robust foundations to withstand substantial wind loads. Geosyntec's integrated solutions can address such needs via the following services:

  • Simulating wind load for normal extreme conditions
  • Fully-integrated soil-foundation-structure-turbine analysis to model the dynamic response of the system
  • Engineering solutions that avoid resonance conditions
  • Designing mat, gravity, and piled foundations
  • Deep soil mixing to improve the foundation
  • Wind turbine foundation design for landfill sites

Geosyntec has strong software coding and development experience. A large proportion of our staff have earned advanced degrees with experience developing software. We developed the "RAPTUR" software tool for analysing the risks to people and vulnerable infrastructure due to nearby onshore wind turbines. This enables planners, developers, and regulators to understand potential adverse societal impacts that onshore wind turbines could entail.

Offshore Wind Energy

We specialize in the application of advanced analytical methods to achieve reliable design concepts for shallow and deepwater offshore wind systems. This expertise covers concept development, feasibility studies, and reliability comparisons of various offshore support structures, including:

  • Monopiles
  • Tripods
  • Jackets
  • Gravity base structures
  • Tension leg platforms
  • Design certification
  • Standards development
  • Fully-coupled analyses for extreme wind and wave conditions
  • FEED studies
  • Preliminary and detailed design

Our staff developed custom software, "WEP-View," for the United States Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). WEP-View is used to determine the power output from an array of offshore wind turbines and takes into account the wind turbine specification; the number of turbines in the array and their spacing; the wind direction and strength frequency variations; and the wake effect from upwind turbines disrupting their downstream neighbours. BOEM has used this tool as part of the U.S. government licensing process for offshore wind turbines, and it may also be used by offshore wind farm developers to assess operational and maintenance performance.

Wave, Current, and Tidal Energy

For more than 30 years, Geosyntec has developed new technologies for frontier ocean energy projects, and we continue to provide innovative solutions to wave, current, and tidal energy clients.

We develop analytical methods that enable our clients to fully understand the complex nature of marine energy systems subject to harsh environmental conditions. To achieve fit-for-purpose marine energy systems, we assist clients with:

  • Concept evaluation
  • Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) preliminary and detailed design
  • Design certification and verification
  • Owner's engineer representation
  • Analysis of foundations and fixed or floating support structures
  • Installation support

Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS)

Although the capture and storage of carbon dioxide is desirable from an environmental and economic perspective, there are several safety risks associated with this technology. Carbon dioxide is toxic to humans, and can pose serious health and safety problems wherever the gas is transported, processed, or stored. Since pipelines often run from major industrial areas to onshore and offshore storage facilities, they are sometimes routed close to urban and rural populations. Potential leaks are therefore a serious safety concern.

The thermodynamic regimes under which carbon dioxide is transported can be extremely varied. It is usually pumped as a liquid in either a subcooled or supercritical state. Carbon dioxide is transported under extremely high pressure and low temprerature. When released, liquid carbon dioxide can form a complex solid/liquid/gas mixture, the dispersion of which can be difficult to predict. This makes the accurate assessment of safety risks problematic. To solve this problem, Geosyntec has taken part in a number of high pressure dense phase carbon dioxide release experiments and has been able to validate the modeling results. Geosyntec therefore has considerable experience in predicting this complex dispersion behavior, improving risk estimation. Geosyntec is committed to supporting the acceptance of CCS technology and to this end the company provides the following services:-

  • Mathematical modeling of release rates under different thermodynamic conditions
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modeling of multi-phase mixtures
  • Replicating experiments and providing technical guidance to industrial experimental programs
  • CFD modeling of carbon dioxide leakage and dispersion from onshore plant and offshore injection installations
  • Modeling release scenarios: accidental releases such as pipe bursts and blowdowns, and planned releases such as venting
  • CFD multi-phase modeling of undersea carbon dioxide releases
  • Hazard identification across the full CCS chain

Geosyntec is a member of the Carbon Capture & Storage Association (CCSA) in the United Kingdom, Co-Chairs the CCSA's Technical Working Group, and is committed to supporting the public and regulatory acceptance of CCS by contributing to the understanding and management of the associated major hazards and risks.

Geosyntec has played a significant role in a number of CCS projects with E.ON, Centrica, and BP Alternative Energy, and has contributed to the development of guidance notes published by the United Kingdom’s Energy Institute.

Hydrogen Production, Storage, and Distribution

Hydrogen is an attractive fuel because when it is burned in an internal combustion engine, the only combustion products are energy and water. Hydrogen may also be used in fuel cells to generate electricity, producing heat and water as byproducts. Hydrogen is readily available from electrolysis of water or by extraction from hydrocarbons. The main safety risk associated with hydrogen is explosion because it is flammable at a wide range of concentrations. Hydrogen is also dangerous to human health because it is an asphyxiant.

Geosyntec has supported the development of hydrogen as a fuel in the design of hydrogen-fueled vehicle filling stations in major urban areas, and in the fueling of large gas-turbine power generation. This has included modeling gas dispersion, fires and explosions, and supporting the engineering effort to minimize the hazard potential to operators and to the public. In addition, Geosyntec has also modeled liquid hydrogen/oxygen explosions for a confidential government agency.

Geosyntec provides engineering assessment, and hazard management capabilities to assist client with:

  • Pipeline strength calculations
  • Offloading design
  • Major accident prevention plans for pipelines
  • Vehicle fueling station design and hazard assessment
  • Pipeline release modeling

Storage of flammable fluids requires a number of key design parameters to be satisfied for safe operation. Geosyntec can advise on inherent safety, site layout and design, safety instrumented systems and mitigation measures, such as passive fire protection (PFP) and on-site and off-site emergency response.

Where hazardous fluids are transferred by a buried pipeline or a downstream grid, Geosyntec can advise clients on risk levels, consult on risk mitigation measures, apply guidance (such as IGEM's Technical Documents 1 and 2), and develop major accident prevention documents for clients. We have developed custom models for pressurized pipeline releases of flammable gasses such as hydrogen.

As a member of the Hydrogen Association in the United Kingdom, Geosyntec is committed to the development of hydrogen as a globally-avaibalable, safe, and clean alternative fuel.

Lead Consultants

  • Ronald Johnson, P.E., G.E.
    Ronald Johnson is a Senior Principal Geotechnical Engineer based in California who has been focused on the most seismically active areas of the United States throughout his career. He has led dozen ...
  • Majdi Othman, Ph.D., P.E.
    Majdi Othman is a Senior Principal Engineer based in Georgia with more than 25 years of engineering experience focused on geotechnical, environmental, and civil engineering projects. His pr ...
  • Simon Thurlbeck, Ph.D., CEng
    Simon Thurlbeck is a Senior Principal Engineer based in England with more than 30 years of structural engineering and research experience focused on fire and explosion risk management for high-haza ...
Geosyntec Consultants
Geosyntec is a specialized consulting and engineering firm that works with private and public sector clients to address new ventures and complex problems involving our environment, natural resources, and civil infrastructure.

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