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Recycled car tyres help protect offshore turbines

Mats made from recycled car tyres are the latest development in scour protection for offshore wind turbine foundations.

turbine scour protection

Offshore wind farms: Mats on the seabed could protect foundations from scour

Mats made from recycled car tyres are the latest development in scour protection for offshore wind turbine foundations.

They are claimed to be more sustainable than rock protection as used tyres can be sourced locally, while rock for UK offshore wind farms often has to be imported.

Scour Prevention Systems (SPS) has developed a patented product that sits on the sea bed and prevents sediment washing away and undermining their stability. Its scour prevention mats are joined together and laid on the sea floor to trap sand, mud and gravel moved around bcurrents and tides.

“The beauty of the system is its simplicity,” said product engineer Katie Musgrave. “We finished a trial at E.On’s Scroby Sands wind farm last year,”

“We’ve had interest from offshore wind farm operators and are talking to a number of them about a sale.”

Musgrave said the southern North Sea, which stretches from the Suffolk Coast to Denmark, contains extremely mobile sediment that can expose up to 4m of a turbine base.

“This can affect the stability of the turbine and alter the vibration frequency, affecting components,” she said.

“It can expose cable exit tubes, which are often designed to be buried.”

Currently many operators place rocks on the sea bed to tackle the problem - but Scour Prevention Systems says its solution is more
effective.

It says the tyre mats will not suffer secondary scour and claims they will work forever.

“A lot of the rocks being used come from Norway so we are offering a locally produced alternative,” said Musgrave.

Monopile and gravity foundations are prone to scour, according to Musgrave, who says the system is also effective for jacket foundations.

SPS received investment and innovation grant support from the Technology Strategy Board to complete its trials at Scroby Sands just off the Norfolk coast.

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