Minimising underwater noise while maximising the installable pile size, IQIP’s BLUE Piling Technology may open up new waters to the monopile foundation. The pile driving technology, which uses water as an impact weight, is set to be ready for offshore deployment in the second half of 2021.
Despite the widespread consensus that a continued expansion of wind energy is key to meeting climate goals, developers of offshore windfarms face multiple challenges in the permitting process. A prevalent obstacle is the concern about the effect of underwater noise on marine fauna and the resulting increasingly strict noise limits. Mitigating noise at the source by driving with a gradual push rather than the short impact of a steel ram, IQIP’s newest hammer, the BLUE Piling Hammer is set to provide the solution.
When first tested offshore in 2018, BLUE Piling proved capable of reducing noise levels by up to 20 dB (SEL), at the source. In many regions, this could eliminate the need for additional sound mitigation measures to meet legal noise limits. The developer behind the technology, Jasper Winkes, explains, “With BLUE Piling, basically we’re utilising a large water tank to provide a more energetic, but quieter blow, meaning that we’re gradually pushing on the pile. It’s a completely new technology integrating the noise mitigating into the hammer itself rather than adding noise mitigating measures to or around it.”
Since 2019, IQIP saw the potential of the BLUE Piling Technology and acquired the technology and the team. IQIP has dedicated its extensive in-house knowledge on designing and optimising hammers to address improvement points. Furthermore, the company is currently collaborating with the Geoscience Department of Delft University of Technology, which is conducting in-depth studies to establish the capability of the BLUE Piling hammer in different types of soil.