A new joint industry project targeted at reducing the costs of offshore wind installation and reducing underwater noise during construction

As part of our Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) we have launched a new joint industry project, BLUE PILOT, targeted at reducing the costs of offshore wind installation and reducing underwater noise during construction.

The BLUE PILOT project will deploy The BLUE 25M Hammer, a new type of pile driver developed by Fistuca BV., a Dutch technology company founded as a spin-off from Eindhoven University of Technology.

OWA partners E.ON, EnBW, Ørsted, Equinor, Shell, SSE, and Vattenfall, alongside additional industry partners EDPR, Fistuca, Van Oord, and Sif are contributing €3.6 million funding to the project.  Due to the project’s ability to impact the cost of offshore wind RVO, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, has also granted public subsidies of over €2.5 million.

The BLUE PILOT project will involve the development of validated underwater noise prediction models, which will allow the BLUE 25M Hammer to be used as an alternative for conventional hammers, resulting in direct savings on secondary noise mitigation measures. Furthermore, switching to a BLUE 25M Hammer will reduce the fatigue of conventional designed foundations, therefore increasing their allowable life span or reducing steel and cost for a similar life time.

After the successful completion of the BLUE PILOT project, the knowledge gained will enable OWF developers to use monopiles without a transition piece, thereby simplifying them - allowing all secondary steel to be positioned on the pile and resulting in a leaner and safer installation process.

It is anticipated that the project will enable potential lifetime savings of up to €33 – 40 million for a 720MW offshore wind farm, which is equal to a levelised cost of energy (LCOE) reduction of 0.9-1.2 €/MWh.

About the project

The core project activities are the installation and decommissioning of a state-of-the-art monopile in a non-commercial offshore environment by using an innovative pile driver - a BLUE 25M hammer.

Preparatory phase: Hammer operations are reviewed. The blow profile of the hammer is analysed and modelled. This input is used to model the secondary steel on the pile and the expected underwater noise emissions.

Inshore test: A test pile is installed. The campaign will establish and validate a model environment to reproduce the blow of the hammer accurately and deliver input parameters for a fatigue study. The pile is then entirely removed. This way the decommissioning method is de-risked prior to going offshore.

Offshore test: A test pile is installed offshore. Measurements on hammer and pile will validate predicted fatigue loads on primary and secondary steel. Underwater noise is monitored during piling.

Decommissioning: The test pile is fully decommissioned by using water pressure. The underlying model will be validated.

Data analysis and reporting: All measured data will be analysed. The findings are summarized in a report available to partners. High level results will be made publicly available.

Read the press release, February 2018: Carbon Trust Offshore Wind Accelerator launches new project to reduce costs and underwater noise in offshore wind construction