Aberdeen firm Balmoral says its new product has the potential to make more offshore wind project locations viable.
A common problem around the jackets which support the wind turbines is sea water penetrating down into the sea bed around its legs. This force can even damage cables running from the turbines.
This has traditionally been mitigated by rock dumping around the legs but this can be a costly process.
Balmoral’s HexDefence solution
Balmoral, which employs 300 staff in Aberdeen, has developed a solution to this problem which is claims will produce substantial cost savings and environmental benefits.
The product, called HexDefence, consists of interlocking panels, around 10 metres long, which fit around the legs.
The panels break up the downward flow on the structure and limit the formation of vortices that erode the seabed.
Made from concrete or glass reinforced plastics, the panels can be installed prior to shipping or on deck and do not require the use of additional vessels.
Dr Aneel Gill, product R&D manager at Balmoral, said: “This represents a significant step forward for scour protection, offering highly cost-effective performance enhancement across installation, management, and maintenance.
“This proprietary system eliminates the requirement to dump rock, providing a non-invasive approach to protecting the jacket foundation and the immediate surrounding area.”
Balmoral also has a different version of HexDefence which goes up the monopile foundation to achieve the same aims.
Making more offshore wind viable
Balmoral said some projects and locations deemed unviable for offshore wind due to the amount of rock required for scour protection could be revived.
The company said it is in discussions with several developers about using HexDefence.
Balmoral launched a new cable protection system, called Fibreflex, earlier this year.
Managing director Bill Main adds: “As part of our commitment to the local communities in which we work, HexDefence will be produced close to development sites.
“This strategic choice not only increases local content but also contributes to the overall sustainability of offshore wind projects by reducing environmental impact.”
Balmoral operates a 250,000 sq ft custom-built facility in Aberdeen.
The company, which was founded in 1980 by Sir Jim Milne, has around 600 staff worldwide.