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Title:
SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR LEVELLING AND GRIPPING A JACKET LEG INTO A HOLLOW FOUNDATION PILE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2020/255073
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A system for levelling and gripping a jacket leg into a hollow foundation pile has a levelling assembly (14) for adjusting the longitudinal axis (A) of a jacket leg (8) partially inserted in a hollow foundation pile (11) with an actuation group (26) arranged about the jacket leg (8) and configured to exert a force parallel to the longitudinal axis (A) between the upper edge of the hollow foundation pile (11) and the jacket leg (8) and selectively attachable to the jacket leg (8) and recoverable for further use in another levelling assembly (14); and a gripping assembly (13) for locking the jacket leg (8) in a given position with respect to the hollow foundation pile (11) once leveled.

Inventors:
MCCARTHY, Vincent George (IT)
STOKES, Benjamin Lloyd (IT)
SEXTON, Christopher James (IT)
Application Number:
IB2020/055797
Publication Date:
December 24, 2020
Filing Date:
June 19, 2020
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SAIPEM S.P.A. (IT)
International Classes:
E02D27/42
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ECCETTO, Mauro et al. (IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A system for levelling and gripping a jacket leg into a hollow foundation pile, the system (12) comprising:

a levelling assembly (14) for adjusting the longitudinal axis (A) of a jacket leg (8) partially inserted in a hollow foundation pile (11) and comprising at least one actuation group (26) configured to be arranged about the jacket leg (8); each actuation group (26) being configured to exert a force parallel to the longitudinal axis (A) between the upper edge of the hollow foundation pile (11) and the jacket leg (8) and selectively attachable to the jacket leg (8) and recoverable for further use in another levelling assembly (14); and

- a gripping assembly (13) configured to be arranged about the jacket leg (8) for locking the jacket leg (8) in a given position with respect to the hollow foundation pile (11) once leveled by the levelling assembly (14), and comprising a plurality of wedges (16) distributed about the jacket leg (8) and configured to run along the outer surface of the jacket leg (8) in a direction substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis (A) ; and a plurality of further actuators (17), each of which is mounted to the jacket leg (8) and to the wedge (16), and is configured to insert the respective wedge (16) in a clearance between the hollow foundation pile (11) and the jacket leg (8) .

2 . The system as claimed in claim 1, and comprising at least one stopper bracket (15) fixed to the outer surface of the jacket leg (8) and extending in the radial direction for limiting the insertion of the jacket leg (8) into the hollow foundation pile (11) .

3 . The system as claimed in Claim 1 or 2, wherein the actuation group (26) comprises at least an actuator (27), preferably a hydraulic cylinder, extending in a direction substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis (A) .

4 . The system as claimed in Claim 3, wherein the levelling assembly (14) comprises a connecting element (28) fixed to a respective actuator (27) and configured to retain the respective actuator (27) in a predefined positon in which the actuator (27) extends in a direction substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis (A) .

5 . The system as claimed in Claims 3 or 4, wherein the levelling assembly (14) comprises for each actuator (27) :

- a guiding support (29), which is fixed to the jacket leg (8) and has a respective through opening;

- a jacking block (37) guided in the guiding support (29) ; and

- a levelling bracket (30) fixed to the jacket leg (8), facing the respective guiding support (29) and configured to block the longitudinal displacement of the respective actuator (27); each actuator (27) being configured to exert a force parallel to the longitudinal axis (A) between the respective leveling bracket (30) and the jacking block (37) resting on the edge of the hollow foundation pile (11) .

6. The system as claimed in Claim 5, wherein the levelling assembly (14) comprises a locking pin mechanism (31) fixed to the levelling bracket (30) and the connecting element (28) comprises a rod (34); the locking pin mechanism (31) being configured to selectively block the rod (34) in a predefined position in which the rod (34) extends in a direction substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis (A) .

7. The system as claimed in Claim 6, wherein the levelling assembly (14) comprises for each rod (34) a bar (32) fixed to the guiding support (29) ; one end of the rod (34) being coupled to the bar (32) in such a way to allow the rotation of the rod (34) around the bar (32) .

8. The system as claimed in any one of the Claims from 4 to 7, wherein the levelling assembly (14) comprises at least a couple of actuators (27) mounted to the connecting element (28) and extending in a direction substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis (A) .

9. The system as claimed in any one of the foregoing Claims, wherein each further actuator (17) is selectively dismountable from the jacket leg (8) and the respective wedge (16) .

10. The system as claimed in any one of the foregoing Claims, wherein each wedge (16) is configured to run along a respective guide extending in a direction substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis (A) on the outer surface of the jacket leg (8) .

11. The system as claimed in any one of the foregoing Claims, wherein the further actuator (17) is a hydraulic cylinder extending in a direction substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis (A) .

12. The system as claimed in any one of the foregoing Claims, and comprising for each further actuator (17) at least one first padeye (20) fixed to the jacket leg (8) ; and at least one second padeye (21) fixed to the wedge (16) ; the further actuator (17) being hinged to the at least one first padeye (20) and to the at least one second padeye (21) . 13. The system as claimed in any one of the foregoing Claims, and comprising for each further actuator (17) at least a restraining member (19) arranged around the respective further actuator (17) and configured to retain the respective further actuator (17) parallel to the longitudinal axis (A) .

14. A method for levelling and gripping a jacket leg extending along a longitudinal axis (A) into a hollow foundation pile, the method comprising:

- adjusting the direction of the longitudinal axis (A) of the jacket leg (8) partially inserted in the hollow foundation pile (11) by means of a levelling assembly (14);

- inserting a plurality of wedges (16) in a clearance between the hollow foundation pile (11) and the jacket leg (8) by means of a further actuator (17) for each wedge (16) ; and

dismounting at least partially the levelling assembly (14) from the jacket leg (8) .

15. The method as claimed in Claim 14, and comprising dismounting each further actuator (17) from the jacket leg (8) and the respective wedge (16) .

16. The method as claimed in Claims 14 or 15, and comprising running a plurality of wedges (16) distributed about the jacket leg (8) along a respective guide extending in a direction substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis (A) on the outer surface of the jacket leg (8) .

17. The method as claimed in any of the Claims from 14 to 16, and comprising mounting the levelling assembly (14) on the jacket leg (8) before inserting the jacket leg (8) into the hollow foundation pile (11) .

18. The method as claimed in any of the Claims from 14 to 17, wherein the dismounting of the levelling assembly (14) from the jacket leg (8) is performed by a ROV.

19 . The method as claimed in any of the Claims from 14 to 18, and comprising grouting the jacket leg (8) into the hollow foundation pile (11) .

Description:
"SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR LEVELLING AND GRIPPING A JACKET LEG

INTO A HOLLOW FOUNDATION PILE"

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This patent application claims priority from European patent application no. 19181636.2 filed on 21/06/2019, the entire disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference .

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to a system for levelling and gripping a jacket leg into a hollow foundation pile.

In particular, the present invention relates to a system for levelling and gripping a jacket leg of an offshore wind turbine into a hollow foundation pile installed in a bed of a body of water.

BACKGROUND ART

Wind turbine usually comprises a rotor, a nacelle, a tower, a support structure and foundations.

Offshore support structures are typically jacket or floating type, chosen based on the body of water depth and soil condition of the bed of the body of water.

Jacket structure comprises a number of legs that can vary according to the offshore location or to the wind turbine concept. For example, the jacket can be monopod, tripod, with four legs or can have other leg configurations. The foundation usually comprises hollow foundation piles inserted in the bed of the body of water.

In general, the installation of an offshore wind turbine comprises the steps of partially inserting a jacket leg into a hollow foundation pile and then grouting the jacket leg into the hollow foundation pile.

When large number of Wind Turbine Generators (WTG) are installed at wind farm sites, the hollow foundation piles and jacket legs installation are required to be separated into two different campaigns. This means that hollow foundation piles are typically installed up to a year ahead of the jacket legs. When the jacket legs are installed into the respective hollow foundation piles, there are tight tolerance requirements on jacket leg verticality. This means that a levelling system is required on each jacket leg to adjust its verticality within the permissible limits following set-down since the tilt of the wind turbine influences the mechanical behavior and the performance of the wind turbine.

In addition to this requirement, during the grouting process there are limitations on jacket leg translation within the hollow foundation pile due to environmental loading, such as barrages or underwater currents. Said jacket leg translation, in particular the lateral movement of the jacket leg into the hollow foundation pile, causes early age of the grout during the curing process. To prevent early age cycling and lock the jacket legs vertically are necessary systems to grip the jacket legs with respect to the respective hollow foundation piles referred to as 'grippers' and are connected to the jacket legs close to the top of the hollow foundation piles.

Document WO 2016/085339 teaches to couple a jacket leg with a hollow foundation pile by mounting a first flange with the jacket leg; contacting a second flange with the foundation pile such that the second flange is supported by the hollow foundation pile; mutually positioning the first flange and the second flange such that the jacket leg may be supported by the hollow foundation pile through the first flange and the second flange; and arranging an inflatable spacing member between the first flange and second flange such that the spacing member contacts both the first flange and second flange for supporting the jacket leg through the spacing member.

As known from WO 2012/053892, the jacket leg is gripped into the hollow foundation pile by means of a steel ring coupled to the jacket leg and provided with a plurality of hydraulic cylinders.

Document EP 2,770,112 relates to a lifting device for an offshore platform along one support leg with several segments connected to one another to form a closed clamping chain .

Document CN 102,787,590 relates to a hydraulic lifting pile guide device for an offshore jack-up platform, comprising a ring, which serves as a guide for the pile and is lifted or lowered by hydraulic cylinders. Said device has the function of centering the pile with respect to a guide, reducing the friction between pile and guide during the lifting and lowering of piles.

Although the known system for levelling and gripping are largely employed in offshore location, the overall system, including actuators, remain permanently on the jacket leg therefore becoming sacrificial on each jacket leg after completion of the installation. Therefore, the costs involved and environmental reasons become relevant issues .

DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION

One object of the present invention is to provide a system for levelling and gripping a jacket leg into a hollow foundation pile that mitigates the drawbacks of the prior art.

According to the present invention there is provided a system for levelling and gripping a jacket leg into a hollow foundation pile, the system comprising:

- a levelling assembly for adjusting the longitudinal axis of a jacket leg partially inserted in a hollow foundation pile and comprising at least one actuation group configured to be arranged about the jacket leg; each actuation group being configured to exert a force parallel to the longitudinal axis between the upper edge of the hollow foundation pile and the jacket leg and selectively attachable to the jacket leg and recoverable for further use in another levelling assembly; and

- a gripping assembly configured to be arranged about the jacket leg for locking the jacket leg in a given position with respect to the hollow foundation pile once leveled by the levelling assembly, and comprising a plurality of wedges distributed about the jacket leg and configured to run along the outer surface of the jacket leg in a direction substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis; and a plurality of further actuators, each of which is mounted to the jacket leg and to the wedge, and is configured to insert the respective wedge in a clearance between the hollow foundation pile and the jacket leg.

Thanks to the at least one actuation group, the jacket leg is lifted and the position of the longitudinal axis is adj usted .

In this way, the jacket leg can be installed with high accuracy in a predefined position in easy and economical manner .

Furthermore, the actuation group is recovered after the installation and can be reused in a further system providing an economical advantage.

In addition, thanks to the plurality of wedges, the jacket leg is blocked in a predefined position with respect to the hollow foundation pile.

In particular, the system comprises a stopper bracket fixed to the outer surface of the jacket leg and extending in the radial direction for limiting the insertion of the jacket leg into the hollow foundation pile.

Thanks to the stopper brackets, a limit to the penetration of the jacket leg into the hollow foundation pile is provided.

In greater detail, when the gripping assembly is not yet locking the jacket leg and the hollow foundation pile and the levelling assembly is not engaged, the stopper brackets bear on the edge of the hollow foundation pile and keep the gripping assembly at a given distance from the hollow foundation pile prior to engagement.

In particular, the actuation group comprises at least an actuator, preferably a hydraulic cylinder, extending in a direction substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis .

In this way, the jacket leg is lifted by means of hydraulic power.

In particular, the levelling assembly comprises a connecting element fixed to a respective actuator and configured to retain the respective actuator in a predefined positon, in which the actuator extends in a direction substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis. In this way, each actuator can be mounted in a predefined position on the jacket leg.

In particular, the levelling assembly comprises for each actuator:

- a guiding support, which is fixed to the jacket leg and has a respective through opening;

- a jacking block guided in the guiding support; and

- a levelling bracket fixed to the jacket leg, facing the respective guiding support and configured to block the longitudinal displacement of the respective actuator; each actuator being configured to exert a force parallel to the longitudinal axis between the respective levelling bracket and the jacking block resting on the edge of the hollow foundation pile.

In this way, each actuator is activated between the respective levelling bracket and the edge of the hollow foundation pile.

Furthermore, the levelling assembly can be installed on the jacket leg in a simple manner before inserting the jacket leg into the hollow foundation pile.

In particular, the levelling assembly comprises a locking pin mechanism fixed to the levelling bracket and the connecting element comprises a rod; the locking pin mechanism being configured to selectively block the rod in a predefined position in which the rod extends in a direction substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis.

In this way, each actuator can be selectively blocked in a predefined position, in which each actuator extends in a direction substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis .

In particular, the levelling assembly comprises for each rod a bar fixed to the guiding support; one end of the rod being coupled to the bar in such a way to allow the rotation of the rod around the bar.

In this way, when the locking pin mechanism does not block the rod, the each actuator can rotate around the connecting bar in order to mount the actuator on the jacket leg or dismount the actuator from the jacket leg for recovering of the same and further use in another levelling assembly .

In particular, the levelling assembly comprises at least a couple of actuators mounted to the connecting element and extending in a direction substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis.

In this way, the couple of actuators can be mounted on the jacket leg or dismounted from the jacket leg as a single assembly in easy and fast manner.

Moreover, the couples of actuators provide more power and allow the adjustment of the jacket leg position with higher accuracy.

In particular, each further actuator is selectively dismountable from the jacket leg and the respective wedge.

In this way, each further actuator is recovered after the installation and can be reused in a further system providing a further economical advantage.

In particular, each wedge is configured to run along a respective guide extending in a direction substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis on the outer surface of the jacket leg.

In this way, each wedge is forced to run on a straight path substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis to the benefit of the accuracy of the system. In particular, the further actuator is a hydraulic cylinder extending in a direction substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis.

In this way, the further actuator has high power density with limited dimensions.

In particular, the system comprises for each further actuator at least one padeye fixed to the jacket leg; and at least one second padeye fixed to the wedge; the further actuator being hinged to the at least one first padeye and to the at least one second padeye.

In this way, each further actuator can be dismounted in fast and easy manner from the respective jacket leg and from the respective wedge.

In particular, the system comprises for each further actuator at least a restraining member arranged around the respective further actuator and configured to retain the respective further actuator parallel to the longitudinal axis .

In this way, the displacement of each further actuator occurs in a direction substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis to the benefit of the accuracy of the system.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a method for levelling and gripping a jacket leg into a hollow foundation pile that mitigates the drawbacks of the prior art.

According to the present invention, there is provided a method for levelling and gripping a jacket leg into a hollow foundation pile, the method comprising:

- adjusting the direction of the longitudinal axis of the jacket leg partially inserted in the hollow foundation pile by means of a levelling assembly;

inserting a plurality of wedges in a clearance between the hollow foundation pile and the jacket leg by means of a further actuator for each wedge; and

dismounting at least partially the levelling assembly from the jacket leg.

In this way, the jacket leg can be levelled and gripped into the hollow foundation pile in a predefined position in easy and economical manner.

Furthermore, each levelling assembly can be at least partially recovered after the installation of the jacket leg into the hollow foundation pile and can be reused to repeat the same method steps.

In particular, the method comprises dismounting each further actuator from the jacket leg and the respective wedge .

In this way, each further actuator can be recovered in easy and fast manner in order to carry out the same method steps .

In particular, the method comprises running a plurality of wedges distributed about the jacket leg along a respective guide extending in a direction substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis on the outer surface of the jacket leg.

In this way, each wedge is forced to run on a straight path substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis.

In particular, the method comprises mounting the levelling assembly on the jacket leg before inserting the jacket leg into the hollow foundation pile.

In this way, the levelling assembly is mounted on the jacket leg in easy and economical manner above the surface of the body of water.

In particular, the dismounting of the levelling assembly from the jacket leg is performed by a ROV.

In this way, the levelling assembly can be remotely recovered underwater.

In particular, the method comprises grouting the jacket leg into the hollow foundation pile.

In this way, the jacket leg and the hollow foundation pile are fixed together in a permanent way by both gripping and grouting.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A non-limiting embodiment of the present invention will be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

- Figure 1 is a perspective view, with parts removed for clarity, of an offshore wind turbine installed on a bed of a body of water;

- Figure 2 is a perspective view, with parts removed for clarity, of a system for levelling and gripping a jacket leg into a hollow foundation pile of the offshore wind turbine of Figure 1;

- Figure 3 is a frontal elevation view, with parts removed for clarity, of a levelling assembly of the system of Figure 2;

- Figure 4 is a lateral elevation view, with parts removed for clarity, of the levelling system of Figure 3 in a particular operational configuration;

Figure 5 is a scheme, with parts removed for clarity, of the system of Figure 2;

- Figure 6 is a section view, with parts removed for clarity and parts in cross-section along a horizontal plane, of the offshore wind turbine of Figure 1; and

- Figure 7 is a detailed lateral elevation view, with parts removed for clarity, of the system of Figure 2.

BEST MODE OF CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

Number 1 in Figure 1 indicates an offshore wind turbine installed in an offshore site.

The offshore wind turbine 1 comprises a tower 2; a nacelle 3 rotatably mounted atop the tower 2; a rotor 4 rotatably mounted to the nacelle 3 and comprising a hub 5 and blades 6 radially extending from the hub 5; a support structure 7 which comprises jacket legs 8 and a support frame 9; and foundations 10 which comprise hollow foundation piles 11.

In the particular embodiment of Figure 1, the support structure 7 comprises three jacket legs 8, each of which inserted into a respective hollow foundation pile 11.

The number of jacket legs 8, the number of the hollow foundation piles 11 and the configuration of the support frame 9 can vary according to a wide range of different applications or different offshore sites, not shown in the attached Figures. For example, the offshore wind turbine can have one or more jacket legs and relevant hollow foundation piles.

With reference to Figure 1, the hollow foundation piles 11 are inserted on the bed of the body of water penetrating by a depth in the bed of the body of water.

Each jacket leg 8 is partially inserted into the respective hollow foundation pile 11.

The offshore wind turbine 1 comprises a system 12 for levelling and gripping each jacket leg 8 into the respective hollow foundation pile 11, mounted on each jacket leg 8 close to the edge of the respective hollow foundation pile 11.

Although in Figure 1 the system 12 is used in an underwater environment, the system 12 can be also used over the surface of the body of water.

Moreover, the system 12 can be used for onshore wind turbines and for other applications comprising the inserting and positioning of a first body into a second hollow body.

Therefore, the underwater application shown in Figure 1 is not intended as limiting the wide variety of different possible applications of the present invention.

With reference to Figure 2, the system 12 comprises a plurality of gripping assembly 13, a levelling assembly 14 and at least a stopper bracket 15.

The gripping assembly 13 comprises a plurality of wedges 16 distributed about each jacket leg 8 and configured to run along the outer surface of the jacket leg 8 in a direction substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis A of the jacket leg 8; one actuator 17 for each wedge 16, which is mounted to the jacket leg 8 and to the wedge 16, is configured to insert the respective wedge 16 in the clearance between the hollow foundation pile 11 and the jacket leg 8, and is selectively dismountable from the jacket leg 8 and the respective wedge 16.

The actuator 17 is a hydraulic cylinder extending in a direction substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis A.

According to alternative embodiment of the present invention, not shown in the attached Figures, the actuator 17 can be of different types, preferably hydraulic or electro-mechanical or pneumatic type.

The gripping assembly 13 further comprises a guide for each wedge 16 comprising a couple of ribs 18 fixed on the outer surface of the jacket leg 8 and extending in a direction substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis A; and a restraining member 19 for each actuator 17 arranged around the respective actuator 17 and configured to retain the respective actuator 17 to the jacket leg 8.

Moreover, the gripping assembly 13 comprises for each actuator 17 at least one padeye 20 fixed to the jacket leg 8 and at least one padeye 21 fixed to the wedge 16.

In particular, the gripping assembly 13 comprises for each actuator 17 a couple of padeye 20 and a couple of padeye 21. Each actuator 17 is hinged to the padeye 20 and 21 by means of respective pins 22 and 23.

Each stopper bracket 15 is fixed to the outer surface of the jacket leg 8 and extending in the radial direction for a length greater than the clearance between the hollow foundation pile 11 and the jacket leg 8 in order to limit the insertion of the jacket leg 8 into the hollow foundation pile 11 to keep the wedges 16 at given distance from the hollow foundation pile 11. Said distance being shorter than the stroke of the actuator 17 in the axial direction .

In particular, each stopper bracket 15 is welded to the jacket leg 8 and comprises at least one longitudinal wall 24 extending in a direction substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis A, and a base wall 25 having a radial dimension much greater than the clearance between the hollow foundation pile 11 and the jacket leg 8 and configured to bear on the edge of the hollow foundation pile 11.

The levelling assembly 14 is configured to adjust the longitudinal axis A of the jacket leg 8 partially inserted in the hollow foundation pile 11 prior to inserting the wedges 16 into the clearance between the jacket leg 8 and the hollow foundation pile 11.

The levelling assembly 14 comprises at least one actuation group 26 arranged about the jacket leg 8.

In the preferred embodiment of Figure 2, not limiting the present invention, the actuation group 26 comprises at least one actuator 27 extending in a direction substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis A.

In greater detail, each actuation group 26 comprises a couple of actuators 27 coupled together.

The actuator 27 is a hydraulic cylinder extending in a direction substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis A.

According to alternative embodiment of the present invention, not shown in the attached Figures, the actuation group 26 can comprise a different number of actuators or different types of actuator, for example of electro mechanical actuators or pneumatic actuators.

The levelling assembly 14 further comprises a connecting element 28 for each couple of actuators 27 configured to retain each actuator 27 in a predefined positon and to fix together the two actuators 27 of the couple of actuators 27; a couple of guiding supports 29 for each couple of actuators 27 fixed to the jacket leg 8; a couple of levelling brackets 30 for each couple of actuators 27 fixed to the jacket leg 8; and a locking pin mechanism 31 fixed to each couple of levelling brackets 30. With reference to Figure 3, the guiding supports 29 of the couple of guiding supports 29 are welded to the jacket leg 8, have a through opening and are connected by a bar 32 extending in a direction transversal to the longitudinal axis A.

The levelling brackets 30 of the couple of the levelling brackets 30 are welded to the jacket leg 8 and are connected by bar 33 extending in a direction transversal to the longitudinal axis A.

The connecting element 28 comprises a rod 34 placed between the two actuators 27 of each couple of actuators 27. One end of the rod 34 is fork shaped and is coupled to the connecting bar 32 in such a way to allow the rotation of the rod 34 around the connecting bar 32.

The locking pin mechanism 31 comprises a guiding cylinder 35 and a sliding pin 36 configured to slide inside the guiding cylinder 35 in order to selectively block the rod 34 in a predefined position, in which the rod 34 is bounded in radial direction between the sliding pin 36 and the bar 33 extending in a direction substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis A.

With reference to Figure 4, each actuator 27 comprises a jacking block 37 in the lower end, which is configured to bear on the edge of the hollow foundation pile 11, passing through the through opening of the guiding support 29.

In an alternative embodiment of the present invention, not shown in the attached Figures, each guiding support 29 is not welded to the jacket leg 8 but is fixed to the respective jacking block 37 and is configured to bear on the edge of the hollow foundation pile 11.

With reference to Figure 5, the system 12 comprises a control panel 38; a hydraulic circuit 39 for supplying fluid to the actuators 17 and 27; and an umbilical 40 within which are contained the flow lines of the hydraulic circuit 39.

The hydraulic circuit 39 comprising a control valve 41 configured to selectively control the actuators 27; a control valve 42 in parallel with respect to the control valve 41 and configured to selectively control the actuators 17; and a flowmeter 43 placed on actuators 27 flow line, in order to measure the flow rate of fluid flowing into the hydraulic circuit 39 for providing a feedback to the control panel 38.

The hydraulic circuit 39 further comprises an accumulator 44 in fluidic communication with the actuators 17 flow line, and an actuated check valve 45 for each actuator 17 or 27.

In particular, the control panel 38 is configured to control and adjust the tilt of the longitudinal axis A and the clearance between the hollow foundation pile 11 and the jacket leg 8.

It is sufficient only one control panel 38 for each offshore wind turbine 1 since a single control panel 38 can control the correct positioning of all longitudinal axis A of each jacket leg 8 of the offshore wind turbine 1.

With reference to Figure 6, the offshore wind turbine 1 comprises three hollow foundation piles 11, three jacket legs 8 partially inserted in the respective hollow foundation pile 11, and three systems 12, 46 and 47 mounted on the respective jacket leg 8.

With reference to Figure 6, the systems 12 and 46 comprises one levelling assembly 14, six wedges 16 spaced equidistantly from one another on a circular pattern around the jacket leg 8, and two stopper brackets 15 fixed on opposite sides of the jacket leg 8.

The system 47 does not comprise the levelling assembly

14 since the levelling assemblies 14 of the systems 12 and 46 are sufficient to the correct positioning of the three jacket legs 8 into the respective hollow foundation pile 11.

In particular, the levelling assembly 14 is not mounted on the higher jacket leg 8, which is statically supported by the stopper brackets 15 while the other two jacket legs 8 can be lifted by the respective levelling assemb1y 14.

In use and with reference to Figure 2, before the jacket leg 8 is partially inserted into the hollow foundation pile 11, the system 12 is mounted on the jacket leg 8 prior to the installation at the final offshore or onshore site.

Once that the jacket leg 8 is partially inserted into the hollow foundation pile 11 and before the activation of the levelling assembly 14 the at least one stopper bracket

15 rest on the edge of the hollow foundation pile 11, bearing the weight of the jacket leg 8.

The actuators 27 are then activated, setting a distance in the longitudinal direction between the edge of the hollow foundation pile 11 and the at least one stopper bracket 15.

In greater detail, the upper end of each actuator 27 bear on the respective levelling bracket 30 and the jacking block 37 (Figure 4) bear on the edge of the hollow foundation pile 11. The control panel 38 distributes the power among the actuators 27 controlling the displacement of each actuator 27 in order to adjust the tilt of the longitudinal axis A and the clearance between the hollow foundation pile 11 and the jacket leg 8.

Once the longitudinal axis A is in the predefined position, each wedge 16 of the plurality of wedges 16 is inserted into the clearance between the hollow foundation pile 11 and the jacket leg 8.

With reference to Figure 7, each actuator 17 pushes the respective wedge 16, which slides on the jacket leg 8 outer surface following the respective ribs 18, into the clearance between the hollow foundation pile 11 and the jacket leg 8, blocking the lateral and the vertical movement of the jacket leg 8 with respect to the hollow foundation pile 11.

In particular, the edge of the hollow foundation pile 11 has a chamfer to allow the insertion of the wedges 16.

Once the wedges 16 are inserted into the clearance between the hollow foundation pile 11 and the jacket leg 8, the control panel 38 controls the position of the longitudinal axis A and if necessary commands the displacement of the actuators 27 in order to re-adjust the position of the longitudinal axis A.

In the case of re-adjustment of the longitudinal axis A position, the wedges 16 are pressed again in the clearance between the hollow foundation pile 11 and the jacket leg 8.

Once the jacket leg 8 is blocked in the predefined position by the wedges 16, the jacket leg 8 is grouted to the hollow foundation pile 11, filling with grout the clearance between the hollow foundation pile 11 and the jacket leg 8.

The actuators 27 are then removed from the jacket leg 8 for being re-used in a further system 12.

In a particular embodiment of the present invention, also the actuators 17 are removed from the jacket leg 8 for being re-used in a further system 12.

In a further particular embodiment of the present invention, the actuators 17 and 27 are maintained in position until the grout is cured.

In a preferred embodiment not limiting the present invention, the actuators 17 and 27 are removed from the jacked leg 8 by a ROV, not shown in the attached Figures, for being re-used in a further system 12.

In this description, the term "ROV" means a Remote Operated Vehicle. In greater detail, the term "ROV" means a vehicle remotely operated by a human interface eventually operated by human or software, to perform underwater operations of different kinds.

With reference to Figure 3, for the removal of the actuators 27, each actuator 27 is retracted, releasing the loads exerted against the respective levelling bracket 30 and the edge of the hollow foundation pile 11.

Then, the sliding pin 36 slides inside the guiding cylinder 35 to unblock the radial movement of the rod 34 and to allow the removal of the couple of actuators 27.

It is clear that the present invention includes variations that are not specifically described and fall within the scope of the protection of the following claims.