New vibro piling method to be used at Kaskasi

In: CorporateWindfarms

RWE has announced plans to use a new vibro pile driving technology while constructing the
Kaskasi offshore wind farm off the German island of Heligoland. It will be the first commercial offshore wind farm in the world to use the installation method for driving the wind turbine foundations into the seabed to target penetration depth.

RWE claims that the vibro pile driving technology speeds up the process of installing the foundations, is gentler in its impact on the structure and produces far less noise.

Up to now, foundations for offshore wind turbines have been driven into the seabed with individual blows from a hydraulic hammer. The new, quieter process uses vertical vibrations to drive the foundations into position. With the innovative vibratory pile driving technology it is expected that it will no longer be necessary to use additional noise reducing measures to protect marine mammals.

“VISSKA” is the German acronym for a research project aimed at exploring the use of vibratory pile driving at the Kaskasi II offshore wind farm, in terms of installation, noise emissions and the impact on the behaviour of porpoises. RWE Renewables, itap GmbH, BioConsult SH GmbH & Co. KG as well as the University of Stuttgart (Institute of Geotechnical Engineering) and Technische Universität Berlin (Foundation Engineering and Soil Mechanics) signed a corresponding cooperation agreement. The German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy is funding the research project, which is being coordinated by RWE.

Together, the partners want to develop forecast models for installing monopiles using the vibro pile driving method, ensuring associated noise emissions, and to validate these models through measurements in offshore conditions. In addition, the participating organisations are carrying out accompanying research on the behaviour of porpoises as a result of the lower noise installation technique. The first measurements at sea are planned for the summer of this year. A total of 38 foundations for the wind turbines will be installed from the third quarter of 2021 onwards. The final report of the 28-month research project is to be completed by early 2023.

“With the innovative vibratory pile driving method used at our Kaskasi offshore wind farm we expect shorter installation times and, due to the reduced noise emissions, it is also better for the maritime environment. Thanks to the support from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and in collaboration with our partners, we want to pave the way for the more environmentally friendly vibro pile driving technology. This project will help us achieve RWE’s goal of becoming a leader in advancing offshore innovation and technologies,"
said Sven Utermöhlen, Chief Operating Officer Wind Offshore Global at RWE Renewables.

The 342 MW
Kaskasi wind project is located 35 kilometres north of the island of Heligoland, Germany. Construction is expected to start in Q3 2021 and the project is planned to be fully commissioned by the end of 2022. Once fully operational, the project is expected to supply the equivalent of 400,000 households a year with green energy.

For more information on offshore wind farms worldwide, click here.

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