Trust put in Dutch hammer
OWA initiative aims to cut noise and fatigue during offshore pile installation
The Carbon Trust-led Offshore Wind Accelerator programme has launched an initiative that aims to reduce costs and underwater noise during offshore wind farm construction.
The so-called Blue Pilot demonstration project will deploy a new type of pile driver, known as the Blue Hammer, developed by Dutch technology company Fistuca in waters off the coast of the Netherlands.
The hammer is expected to reduce underwater noise levels by up to 20 decibels and cut fatigue damage during pile installation by as much as 90%.
“This could not only remove the need for underwater noise mitigation, but also enable secondary steel to be pre-welded to the monopile before installation, potentially unlocking ‘transition piece free’ designs,” the Carbon Trust said.
Savings of between €33m and €40m for a 720MW wind farm could be achieved, it added.
A Sif-built monopile foundation will be installed using the hammer with measurement equipment and sensors used to validate the predicted noise and fatigue savings.
The tests will take place during the summer and the findings will be made available later in the year.
OWA partners Eon, EnBW, Orsted, Statoil and Vattenfall, and industry partners Van Oord, Shell and Sif are contributing €3.2m funding to the demo.
The Netherlands Enterprise Agency is also providing €2.5m for the project.
Carbon Trust OWA project manager for the foundations working area Michael Stephenson said: “The Blue Pilot has real potential to impact the levelised cost of energy of offshore wind projects.
“We are excited to support this project to validate the hammer offshore and to support the integration of industry into the project, which will be vital to its success.”
Image: Carbon Trust