IHC IQIP in the Netherlands is investing in environmentally friendly piling technology that can be used in the offshore wind and offshore oil and gas markets.
The Dutch company is investing in the piling technology concept originally developed by Jasper Winkes and his company Fistuca.
The pile hammer developed by Mr Winkes uses water to quietly drive a pile into the seabed. It was designed to reduce underwater noise levels significantly and reduce the fatigue damage while installing a pile.
Rather than hammering a monopile into the ground, the Blue Hammer concept developed by Fistuca uses acceleration of a water column by a gas mixture to provide the driving force – a mechanism that can deliver a large amount of energy without exciting undue vibration in a monopile.
The Blue Hammer was predicted to reduce underwater noise levels by up to 20 dB (SEL), and potentially reduce the fatigue damage during installation on the pile by up to 90%. This 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.
The companies plan to work together to scale up the technology for use with larger turbines and piles and in greater water depths.
IHC IQIP executive director Jan Albert Westerbeek said, “We will continue to develop the Blue Piling Technology with Jasper Winkes and his team. We’re not just an investor, we want to contribute to this technology with our expertise and knowledge of the market.”
In 2018, a BLUE 25M hammer completed offshore tests in Dutch waters as part of the Offshore Wind Accelerator BLUE PILOT project. The project involved the Carbon Trust and Fistuca, plus industry partners, Eon, EDPR, EnBW, Equinor, Ørsted, Shell, Sif, SSE, Van Oord, and Vattenfall. During the tests, the BLUE 25M was installed on Van Oord’s vessel, Svanen.