RWE coordinates the research project on offshore wind farms
“VISSKA” is the German acronym for a research project to explore the use of vibratory pile driving in the Kaskasi II offshore wind farm, in terms of installation, noise emissions and impact on behavior porpoises. RWE Renewables, itap GmbH, BioConsult SH GmbH & Co. KG as well as the University of Stuttgart (Institute of Geotechnical Engineering) and Technische Universität Berlin (Foundation Engineering and Soil Mechanics) have signed a corresponding cooperation agreement. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is funding the research project, which is coordinated by RWE.
In 2021, RWE will start construction of the Kaskasi offshore wind farm (342 MW) off the German island of Helgoland. It will be one of the first commercial offshore wind farms in the world to use the improved installation method to drive the foundations of wind turbines into the seabed to target the depth of penetration. The innovative vibro pile driving technology significantly speeds up the foundation installation process, is smoother in its impact on the structure and produces much less noise.
Until now, the foundations of offshore wind turbines have been driven into the seabed with individual blows of a hydraulic hammer. The new low noise process uses vertical vibrations to set the foundation in place. Thanks to the innovative vibratory pile driving technology, it will no longer be necessary to use additional noise reduction measures to protect marine mammals.
The pilot project in Kaskasi is accompanied by a comprehensive research project. Together, the partners wish to develop forecast models for the installation of monopiles using the vibro pile driving method, the associated noise emissions, and to validate these models by measurements in offshore conditions. In addition, the participating organizations are conducting comprehensive complementary research on porpoise behavior using the quieter installation technique.
The first measurements at sea are scheduled for summer 2021. A total of 38 foundations for the wind turbines will be installed from 3Q2021. The final report of the 28-month research project is due to be completed in early 2023.
Together with its four project partners, RWE draws on years of research in the field of vibro pile driving in the laboratory and on land. Tests carried out so far have already shown that this installation technology has the potential to reduce underwater noise emissions as well as installation times. The objective of the project is to develop and develop the results of previous research. In the long term, the innovative method of pile driving must be established as a quieter and more environmentally friendly alternative to conventional hammering techniques.
The Kaskasi offshore wind farm is to be built 35 km north of the island of Helgoland and is expected to be commissioned in the summer of 2022. Once all wind turbines are fully operational in 4Q2022, the wind farm will supply the equivalent of around 400,000 households with green electricity.
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