Good vibrations could build wind turbines cheaper

No, the Beach Boys haven’t launched a green energy business – tests are taking place to see whether vibrations can be used to embed wind turbine bases on sea beds […]

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By Vicky Ellis

No, the Beach Boys haven’t launched a green energy business – tests are taking place to see whether vibrations can be used to embed wind turbine bases on sea beds more cheaply.

Researchers hope this could cut the costs, risks and noise emissions of offshore monopile installations in future European offshore wind projects.

RWE Innogy, DONG Energy, EnBW, E.ON and Vattenfall are behind the one year tests set to start onshore near Cuxhaven on the German North Sea coast.

In May they will drill three bases into the ground using the new vibrations method and three with the conventional hammering, then compare the results.

The EUR 6 million budget is partly funded by carbon reduction company the Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator.

Jan Matthiesen of the Carbon Trust said: “The use of vibration piling has been predicted, and partly demonstrated in selected offshore applications, to decrease the piling time by more than half of that required for impact hammer driving. Innovations such as these can reduce costs significantly for the whole offshore wind industry.”