Offshore wind gets funding to turn down the noise

A new technology is predicted to reduce underwater noise levels by up to 20 decibels

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By Jonny Bairstow

Carbon Trust has launched a new project to reduce the costs and underwater noise generated by building offshore wind farms.

The BLUE PILOT scheme, which forms part of its Offshore Wind Accelerator initiative, will demonstrate the effectiveness of BLUE Hammer, a new type of pile driver developed by Dutch technology firm Fistuca BV.

The technology is predicted to reduce underwater noise levels by up to 20 decibels and potentially reduce fatigue damage during installation on the pile by up to 90%.

This could save money by negating the need for underwater noise mitigation and enable secondary steel to be pre-welded to the structure before installation, reducing the amount of time and number of operations carried out offshore.

The project is expected to enable potential lifetime savings of up to €40 million (£35.5m) for a 720MW offshore wind farm.

Project partners, which include E.ON, Ørsted, Statoil and Vattenfall, are contributing €3.2 million (£2.8m) of funding, with the Netherlands Enterprise Agency also granting public subsidies of more than €2.5 million (£2.2m).