Preparations underway for GBM Works’ innovative vibro-drill test

At the moment, Dutch GBM Works is working together with partners at the Maasvlakte to prepare a pilot test of their GBM Vibro-drill, a new, sustainable, and cost-effective method of installing monopiles.

Founded by Ben Arntz and Nick Noordam, GBM Works developed the ‘Vibro-drill’ method that uses vibrating elements at the bottom of the pole to install the wind turbine monopiles in the seabed. This is in contrast to the traditional driving of monopiles, where the power comes from the top of the pole. The GBM Vibro-drill uses the weight of the pole itself to install the pole.

Initial small-scale trials with the method took place on Maasvlakte in 2017. More and increasingly larger equipment was used in subsequent trials. At the end of 2018, GBM Works vibrated a 16-tonne sheet into the sea bed.

This new technology is reported to offer both economic and ecological advantages. ‘Hammering a monopile makes a lot of noise, which harms the local ecosystem,’ says Joris van Rossem, Test and Logistics Engineer at GBM Works. ‘Our method is low-noise, so we don’t have to place expensive soundproof screens around the monopile. This means we can get the pile into the ground faster compared with conventional hammering methods. As the vibrating elements are attached to the pile during installation, we can perform work faster and are less at the mercy of weather conditions. Centring the vibrations at the bottom also leads to less damage as a result of material fatigue. This may also allow for lighter monopiles in the future.’

The tests on land are performed at Maasvlakte near Sif’s premises, as the sandy soil here is the same as the seabed. Sif has made a test plate and test site available for the pilot. Around May-June time, tests will be performed in the seabed with a relatively small monopile instead of a plate. Source:Port of Rotterdam

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