Van Oord has announced that offshore testing of the Fistuca Blue 25M hammer as part of the Offshore Wind Accelerator Blue Pilot project has been successfully completed of the coast of the Netherlands.
The Blue Hammer is a new development that uses a large water tank to provide a more energetic but quieter blow for installation of offshore piles.
It is designed to reduce underwater noise levels by up to 20dB(SEL) and is predicted to reduce the fatigue damage during installation on the pile by up to 90%.
The Carbon Trust and Fistuca worked with industry partners Eon, EDPR, ENBW, Equinor, Ørsetd, Shell, Sif, SSE, Van Oord and Vattenfall to undertake the project.
According to Van Oord, which undertook the installation work using its heavy lift vessel Svanen, the system could not only remove the need for underwater noise mitigation, but also enable secondary steel to be pre-welded to the monopile before installation, potentially unlocking “transition piece free” designs.
In a statement, Van Oord said: “The offshore test provided significant insights and understanding for future commercial operations. Data was recorded on both acceleration levels on the monopile as well as underwater noise levels in the surrounding area which will now be analysed and interpreted to validate studies that were undertaken prior to the test. This will allow Fistuca to optimise the hammer for future use on commercial offshore wind farms.”
Commenting on the test, Fistuca managing director and founder Jasper Winkes said: “It was great to see the hard work of many years finally delivering these good results on a full scale. We are very grateful for the endorsement of our investor Huisman Equipment, the Dutch Government and all the Blue Pilot Project partners that made this possible.”