The Blue Hammer is an innovative, new hammer utilising a large water tank to provide a more energetic, but quieter blow for offshore installation. It is designed to reduce underwater noise levels by up to 20 dB (SEL) and is predicted to reduce the fatigue damage during installation on the pile by up to 90 per cent. 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. Furthermore, by reducing the amount of time and number of operations carried out offshore, the innovative piling method improves health and safety and result in a significantly lower installation cost.
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.
"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," said Jasper Winkes, founder and managing director of Fistuca BV.
"The test is another step forward in the Blue Pilot project and we are excited to see the results of the offshore measurements and help further bring this essential innovation to the offshore wind market," added Michael Stephenson, project manager for the Carbon Trust.