The aim of the projects presented here is to advance the development and testing of the big bubble curtain (BBC) that is used to mitigate underwater noise emissions during offshore pile driving. For the construction of offshore facilities, such as offshore wind farms, drilling platforms, research platforms and others, foundations are poured, steel piles are driven into the seabed or bores take place causing significant underwater noise emissions. Marine mammals, especially harbour porpoises, can sustain damages to their auditory system by being exposed to noise even for short periods of time.
The first R&D project (conducted during offshore wind farm Borkum West II construction phase) and its succeeding project (in the offshore wind farm GlobalTech I) are exploring ways of how to reduce underwater noise emissions during offshore wind farm pile driving. For this purpose the “Big Bubble Curtain – BBC” has been developed, tested and optimised in the course of the project. The effect of the reduced noise emissions during the construction of Borkum West II was assessed by acoustic measurements and behavioural observations of harbor porpoises. Subsequently, the big bubble curtain was optimized during the construction of the offshore wind farm GlobalTechI, deployed in larger water depths and routinely integrated into the offshore installation process.
A good overview on the “Big Bubble Curtain” is given in this animated video.
BioConsult SH is collaborating on this project with the following partners: the companies Hydrotechnik Lübeck GmbH and itap GmbH Oldenburg as well as the Institute for Statics and Dynamics of the University of Hanover. Parts of the analyses were performed by the Centre for Research into Ecological & Environmental Modelling of the University of St. Andrews.
Further information on this project and general information on the topic of underwater noise can be found on the following website (in German):
The projects are funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMU).
Funding ID 0325645A/B/C/D (BMWi)
Funding ID 0325309A/B/C (BMU)