Bubble curtain will dampen Vineyard Wind foundation installation sound

Written by Nick Blenkey
bubble curtain seen around offshore vessel

Vineyard Wind will deploy bubble curtain noise mitigation technology developed by Hydrotechnik-Lübeck.

New Bedford, Mass., based Vineyard Wind, which is building the first commercial-scale offshore wind energy project in the U.S.,15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard, is to pilot deployment and and testing of a secondary bubble curtain during foundation installation.

A bubble curtain system, which is comprised of large, perforated hoses and specialized air compressors, is designed to absorb and dampen sound during foundation installation. The hoses are placed on the seafloor around the monopile before being filled by compressed air. Once the hoses are inflated, the air escapes through the perforations and creates a barrier of bubbles that reduce noise.

Vineyard Wind is partnering with Groton, Conn., headquartered ThayerMahan for the pilot, which is being supported with $5 million in funding from Vineyard Wind’s Industry Accelerator Fund, which is administered by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC).

As a part of the agreement, ThayerMahan, which is using technology developed by German bubble curtain specialist Hydrotechnik-Lübeck (HTL), will move its headquarters for its bubble curtain acoustic mitigation product line to New Bedford, sharing part of the Foss Marine Terminal.

The bubble curtain deployment operations will be conducted using Northstar Marine’s Northstar Navigator, a 265-foot Jones Act anchor handler that is one of two vessels acquired by the company last year in response to the continued pick up of U.S. East Coast offshore wind work,

“Our agreement with ThayerMahan ensures that for the first time, a US-based company will perform the service of providing a bubble curtain mitigation system for an offshore wind project,” said Vineyard Wind CEO Klaus S. Moeller. “We believe this is the first step of getting U.S. firms experience in this new industry and sets the stage for rapid expansion in the coming years, particularly in our hometown of New Bedford.”

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