Specifically, GBM Works developed the vibro-drill method, according to which the foundation piles for wind turbines -monopiles- are brought into the seabed by means of vibrating elements at the bottom of the pile.
Unlike pile driving, the force is not brought into the pile from above, but the weight of the pile itself is used to install it. GBM Works has applied for a patent for the method.
In addition, Maasvlakte was opted as a trial location. The first small-scale tests with the method took place in 2017 on the Maasvlakte.
At the end of 2018, GBM Works vibrated a 16-tonne plate into the ground.
As civil engineer Govert Meijer, who coaches GBM Works, commented
The Maasvlakte is an interesting test location for us because the sandy bottom is the same as the seabed.
SIF, Van Oord, TU Delft, Deltares and the Port of Rotterdam Authority have joined as industry and knowledge partners to facilitate the further development of the vibro-drill method and to provide financial support for pilots.
Concerning the vibro-drilling monopiles
The monopiles are allegedly economically and environmentally interested, as Joris van Rossem, Test and Logistics Engineer at GBM Works, stated.
Since hammering a monopile make too much of noise pollution, this method is low-noise. Meaning that the participants of the project don't have to place expensive noise-reducing screens around the monopile.
Another benefit is that vibration elements are already attached to the pile during installation, making it possible to work faster and less dependent on weather conditions.
Vibrating at the bottom also causes less fatigue damage: damage due to material fatigue. This may make the monopiles lighter in the future.
Furthermore, in the timeframe of May to June 2019, the company will proceed to a fourth pilot on the Maasvlakte along with the partners.
The fourth pilot will consist of small monopile being shaken into the seabed for the first time.
Concluding, Twan Romeijn, business analyst , Port of Rotterdam Authority commented
The development of offshore wind farms is an important link in the energy transition.