Demonstration of a new pile installation method for offshore wind monopiles

Published: 11 November 2019

On Friday the 1st of November the Gentle Driving of Piles (GDP) project hosted a demonstration day of the field tests at the Maasvlakte II. A new  pile installation method on monopiles for offshore wind turbines was demonstrated. The method is based on simultaneous application of low-frequency and high-frequency vibrationsand aims to make the pile installation process more efficient.

Over 100 visitors witnessed a successful test installation and attended the symposium in the afternoon with technical presentations about GDP and other related subjects within the Offshore Engineering research group of TU Delft.

The field tests are part of the GDP research project that aims to develop a novel pile driving technique that simultaneously improves drivability, reduces noise emission, and ensures that the soil bearing capacity is uncompromised. In this experimental campaign that is executed from October to December 2019, the newly developed GDP shaker has been tested and compared to traditional vibratory and impact hammers. In total, eight piles were installed of which four were driven with the GDP shaker, three by impact hammering and one by vibratory driving. The responses of piles and the surrounding soil were continuously monitored during pile installations, using advanced electromechanical sensors and fibre optics. At the end of this year the field test finishes and the piles will be removed.

New prediction tools

In the next 2 months the installed piles will be laterally loaded and the behavior of piles and the soil around the piles are monitored. The highly instrumented pile and soil monitoring will provide a unique set of data which will be used to validate three new prediction tools. These numerical models will provide the required tools to be able to predict the drivability of offshore monopiles, the state of the soil during and after driving the piles and the noise generated during gentle driving of piles. Next step is the development of the GDP shaker in an offshore full-scale test and in different soil types.

Deltares contributes to different aspects of this research project and at different roles. The technical project management of the field experiments was led by Dr. Ahmed Elkadi. The geotechnical engineering aspects of pile and ground monitoring as well as geotechnical site investigation were done by Dr. Faraz S. Tehrani. And the numerical simulation of pile installation using the Material Point Method (MPM) will be done by Dr. Vahid Galavi.

Joint research program

GDP is a project within GROW, the joint research program in offshore wind that initiates research and accelerates innovations. Delft University of Technology  is coordinating the project with the following project partners; Deltares, Boskalis, Cape Holland, DOT, Eneco, IHC IQIP, Innogy, Seaway7, Shell, SIF, TNO and Van Oord. This project is funded by RVO and supported by TKI Wind Op Zee.