An innovative scarecrow system could help tackle the foul issue of seabird droppings on offshore wind farms and platforms.
The ‘Scaretech’ was installed for a year long trail period on the substation at the REW Renewables operated Galloper Offshore Wind Farm in July 2019.
Gull poo, or ‘guano’, is a huge problem for the offshore wind industry.
It poses several health risks due to its highly carcinogenic qualities and is expensive to remove.
But in the last year, the ‘Scaretech’ system, which is a product of Colchester-based firm Scaretech Global, has reduced guano on the structure in the Southern UK North Sea from around 55% coverage to virtually nothing.
Kieron Drew, interim operations & maintenance manager at Galloper, said: “There is an abundance of seabass around our Galloper site, which attracts large numbers of seabirds. These in turn generate significant quantities of guano, which poses an unpleasant health and safety hazard for us.
“We were looking for a solution and, after considering more expensive options, decided to trial Scaretech. This is a new innovation for the wind industry and it certainly worked for us. Once we installed the Scaretch device, we saw dramatic reductions in the amount of guano. In fact, the problem is now almost non-existent.
“Scaretech is extremely robust, maintenance-free and solar powered so after installation we were able to just forget about it. It’s been a fantastic asset and has saved us a considerable amount in clean-up costs and technician time.”
The ‘Scaretech’ device is based on a traditional scarecrow concept and adapted to suit the harsh offshore environment of a wind farm or oil platform.
It is securely fixed to the offshore structure and emits sporadic loud noises and high intensity strobe lights to deter seabirds.
‘Scaretech’ is the brainchild of Terry Christie, who came up with the idea after noticing that gulls steered clear of high visibility PPE.
He said: “This trial with Galloper wind farm is a game-changer for us and shows once and for all that Scaretech is an extremely effective, long-standing solution for the guano problem.
“We knew of the systems’ potential from our previous trial but this data now proves that just one Scaretech can protect an area as large as a substation or helideck from guano for 12 months and longer. Over time, the birds never become accustomed to the device and simply stay away from it.
“We’ve taken the simple bird deterrent of a scarecrow- tested over hundreds of years – and updated it with the latest, state-of-the-art technology to enable it to withstand the extreme weather conditions offshore. Scaretech works beyond everyone’s expectations and we now plan to launch a low-cost monthly rental option to enable the offshore sector to benefit from this proven solution.”