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Carbon Trust launches pilot project to reduce costs for offshore wind projects

EBR Staff Writer Published 14 March 2018

Carbon Trust has launched new demonstration project, Blue Pilot, which aims to reduce costs and underwater noise during construction of offshore wind farms.

The Blue Pilot, part of the Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) program, involves deployment of the BLUE Hammer, a new type of pile driver developed by Dutch firm Fistuca, a spin-off from Eindhoven University of Technology.

According to estimations, the project will save up to €33m-€40m for a 720MW offshore wind farm.

The project is supported by €3.2m funding from OWA partners E.ON, EnBW, Ørsted, Statoil and Vattenfall as well as industry partners Fistuca, Van Oord, Shell and Sif.

Additionally, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVO has granted over €2.5m in subsidies for the project.

Carbon Trust Offshore Wind Accelerator foundations working area project manager Michael Stephenson said: “The BLUE PILOT has real potential to impact the levelised cost of energy of offshore wind projects.

“We are excited to support this project to validate the hammer offshore and to support the integration of industry into the project, which will be vital to its success.”

In addition to reducing underwater noise levels by up to 20 dB (SEL), the BLUE Hammer could potentially reduce the fatigue damage during installation on the pile by up to 90%.

Statoil wind & low carbon solutions technology director Rajnish Sharma said: “Statoil is constantly seeking to reduce the environmental impact and cost of our offshore wind projects.

“The Blue Piling technology has the potential to be an important contributor in this work, and we look forward together with the industry to develop this new technology.”

As part of the BLUE PILOT project, the hammer will be validated offshore via the installation of a full-size monopile at a location in Dutch waters. The tests are planned to be carried out in the summer of 2018.

Following testing of small-scale BLUE Hammer prototype in 2016, Fistuca received funding support from Huisman Equipment and the RVO to manufacture a full-size hammer which is capable of driving the largest XXL monopiles available in the market.

Image: The Blue Pilot project involves deployment of BLUE Hammer pile driver. Photo: courteys of Carbon Trust.