New noise mitigating pile hammer undergoes tests

In: Windfarms
IQIP and Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) have teamed up to test and improve a new noise-reducing monopile installation method.

The BLUE Piling Technology is a new monopile installation technique is being developed by IQIP. Together with TU Delft, a project has been initiated whereby the hydro-mechanical interactions between a monopile and the surrounding soil during installation is investigated in depth.

BLUE Piling Technology reduces underwater noise levels by creating a gentler blow - when compared to the conventional impact hammers - to install offshore monopiles. This gentle blow is delivered using a large water volume which delivers a longer blow duration on the monopile. As a result, the vibrations of the pile wall reduce, generating less underwater noise. In order to make accurate predictions of the drivability of monopiles, the effect of the longer blow duration will be investigated.

IQIP is currently testing improvements in the technology on a small-scale hammer and these improvements will be implemented in a full-scale hammer next year.

Meanwhile, a team of geotechnical experts at the section of Geo-engineering at TU Delft are investigating the details of the soil-pile interaction during installation using advanced physical, analytical and numerical modelling techniques.

A miniature scale of the BLUE Hammer is being designed and constructed at TU Delft, and will be combined with a heavily instrumented model monopile to conduct detailed parametric studies on the complex soil-pile-water interactions in various conditions. These novel tests will be conducted in the geotechnical centrifuge under 50 times Earth’s gravitational acceleration field (50g).

This collaboration will ensure that IQIP can achieve the best results in reducing environmental impact of offshore wind installations with BLUE Piling Technology by reducing underwater noise at the source.

Michael Schaap, Technical Director IQIP:
“It is clear that the industry is urgently looking for installation techniques that can reduce the environmental impacts during installation. We see that current technologies are reaching their limits. It is therefore of great importance to address the underwater noise at the source. By reducing underwater noise levels at the source directly, the industry can save millions of euros on noise mitigation measures.”

This development has received funding from the Dutch Government Agency RVO (Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland).

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