Engineering Dynamics – Underwater Noise Assessments

Constructing your next offshore wind farm? Manage and mitigate the risk to the environment and marine life by reducing underwater noise.

Overview

The construction and operation of offshore wind turbines creates significant underwater noise. This needs to be managed and monitored during these phases to minimise risk to underwater wildlife and the environment.

Our experts can help you by accurately predicting noise levels in absolute terms, based on technical input at specific sites (rather than empirical data). Our solutions combine two, well-established techniques, giving clients the assurance that they are meeting regulatory requirements and protecting the environment.

  1. Wave equation analysis for piles (WEAP), a popular geotechnical tool
  2. Vibro-acoustic Finite Element (FE) modelling.

About these techniques

WEAP has two important uses, representing both the complex pile-soil interaction and the multi-component hammer systems common to offshore piling. It allows us to calculate the dynamics or stress wave caused. Our proposed method uses WEAP for estimating the related energy dissipation and the loading to the pile head. By inputting these estimations into a relatively simple FE model, we can predict noise levels ahead of installation. Predictions you can rely on.

Modelling and managing underwater noise

Computer modelling of underwater noise from offshore wind is a complex, multidisciplinary effort with no off-the-shelf solution. Modelling and managing underwater noise comprises four main steps, requiring multidisciplinary capabilities and reliable prediction tools.

  1. Gathering data from previous geophysical surveys
  2. Calculating the sound field, combined with population distributions of noise sensitive species
  3. Considering the animal behavioural response to the noise for an assessment of the impact risk.
  4. Exploring noise mitigation techniques and strategies.

In an age of sustainable energy, we can reduce underwater noise with specialist assessment and expertise. Industry and shipping are likely to face increased regulation in this area and addressing the issue will encourage new, environmentally friendly technologies.

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