Launch international investigation into potential chemical contamination of wind turbines

An international team of researchers, including Johan van der Molen and Katherina Alter of the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ), will be investigating potential chemical contamination with dissolved and particulate pollutants from wind turbines.

Several research projects on the environmental impacts of offshore wind farms in the North Sea are ongoing, such as on underwater noise and fisheries exclusion. This particular project, called Anemoi, aims to identify relevant pollutants from wind turbines, assess the impact on ecosystems and aquaculture activities, and propose solutions and options to reduce chemical emissions from offshore wind farms.

The project also assesses the effect of microplastics from wind turbines on for instance filter feeders like mussels. “NIOZ researchers are focusing mainly on possible effects on shellfish, and how they might affect the biochemical functions of the North Sea,” says Van der Molen. “Wind turbine foundations contain corrosion protection systems, which could leach metals such as aluminium or zinc into the sea. At NIOZ, we are going to study the effect of paint chips, microplastics and dissolved metals on filter feeders.”

Sustainable solutions

The Anemoi project also investigates sustainable and non-harmful solutions, for instance alternative corrosion protection systems for OWFs. To reach the project goals, Anemoi will work in close collaboration and interaction with the offshore wind farm sector and with policymakers.

International collaboration

Within the Anemoi project, researchers from 11 European institutes will work in close collaboration with policy makers and the OWF industry. The kick-off meeting is planned on 30 and 31 May 2023 in Hamburg, Germany. The project is funded by INTERREG North Sea and additional funding comes from the Provincie West-Vlaanderen (Belgium) and VLAIO (Belgium).

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