More research needed into optimisation of bubble screens for offshore wind installations

With the in 2019 by GROW initiated Bubbles Joint Industry Project (Bubbles JIP), fresh insight has been gained into the understanding of bubble curtains. However, given the complex engineering involved, a follow-up JIP is being investigated.

Bubble screens are utilized in offshore construction projects to reduce the noise produced by high-energy piling. Noise mitigation is a requirement enforced by permits to ensure that pile-driving operations are carried out in a manner that protects the marine environment.

A consortium of research institutes and industry partners involved in the offshore wind sector set up the Bubbles JIP initiative in 2019. The aim was to achieve more efficient and effective use of bubble curtains deployed for noise mitigation in offshore installation projects by improved engineering of the bubble screen.

”During Bubbles JIP we have made progress, but it turns out to be more complex than expected. A lot still is unclear. So, we would like to dig even further into the data to get even more out of it. And we would like to extend the research by measuring during an offshore wind installation project. Therefore, project partners are investigating a follow-up project to perform a more in-depth study which could result in tests offshore to capture all the physics, effects and environmental impact.”

Erik-Jan de Ridder

Project partners are Boskalis, Heerema Marine Contractors, IHC, MARIN, Seaway7, TNO, TU Delft, Van Oord, and Wageningen Marine Research. The Bubbles JIP project was supported with a subsidy by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy and TKI Offshore Energy (part of Energy InnovationNL) and was an initiative of GROW.

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