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Offshore wind energy: Drilling instead of driving

New method developed for foundation piles

The intention is to develop offshore wind energy in the German parts of the North and Baltic seas in an environmentally compatible manner. In order to reduce the noise emissions when erecting the wind turbines, a new drilling method has been developed for installing the foundation piles.

The new BINE Projektinfo brochure “Low-noise anchoring of offshore wind turbines” (11/2013) presents the drilling rig and a concept for the subsequent construction sequence.

The drilling machine has been further developed from a shaft sinking machine that has proven itself on land. It operates under water inside the large foundation piles (tripods) and extracts sand and rock using a swivelling cutter head. Mixed with water, this is pumped to the surface. The pile for the wind turbine can then continue sinking into the increasingly deeper hole until it has reached the required depth.

The developers expect sound values for future construction measures at high sea that are considerably below the required limit value. In addition to noise-reducing measures (for example, bubble curtains) used for the currently standard pile driving method, another method is therefore now available for reducing construction noise. This mitigation of the sound emissions is necessary in order to protect the harbour porpoises found in the North and Baltic seas, which are dependent on the use of echolocation.

The drilling machine is being developed by the Herrenknecht AG company from Schwanau, Germany. A prototype is currently being constructed and optimised in technical terms.

The BINE Projektinfo brochure, which can be obtained free of charge from the BINE Information Service at FIZ Karlsruhe, is available online at or by calling +49 (0)228 92379-0.

Press contact
Uwe Milles
About BINE Information Service
Energy research for practical applications
The BINE Information Service reports on energy research topics, such as new materials, systems and components, as well as innovative concepts and methods. The knowledge gained is incorporated into the implementation of new technologies in practice, because first-rate information provides a basis for pioneering decisions, whether in the planning of energy-optimised buildings, increasing the efficiency of industrial processes, or integrating renewable energy sources into existing systems.

About FIZ Karlsruhe

FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz Institute for Information Infrastructure is a not-for-profit organization with the public mission to make sci-tech information from all over the world publicly available and to provide related services in order to support the national and international transfer of knowledge and the promotion of innovation.
Our business areas:
• STN International – the world’s leading online service for research and patent information in science and technology
• KnowEsis – innovative eScience solutions to support the process of research in all its stages, and throughout all scientific disciplines
• Databases and Information Services – Databases and science portals in mathematics, computer science, crystallography, chemistry, and energy technology

FIZ Karlsruhe is a member of the Leibniz Association (WGL) which consists of 87 German research and infrastructure institutions.

Rüdiger Mack | idw
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