IHC Merwede makes major investment in new sustainable offshore technology

IHC Hydrohammer®, a subsidiary of IHC Merwede and market leader in the field of pile driving equipment, is continuing to make a major investment in sustainable and innovative solutions.

IHC Hydrohammer® invested a total of € 37 million to expand its fleet of rental pile drivers as well as the further development and production of a revolutionary new design that will transform the market for ultra-deep water structures in the offshore oil and gas sectors: the IHC Waterhammer®.

IHC Waterhammer®

The IHC Waterhammer® was developed by IHC Hydrohammer® for use in deep water at depths up to 3,000 metres. It is controlled by a radical hydraulic system that uses sea water instead of oil. This addresses the practical issue of it being technically impossible to pump oil to and from such depths, while of course there is no shortage of sea water around the structure. There are also environmental benefits in that this solution removes the risk of accidental oil leaks.

“Over the next few decades, the IHC Waterhammer® will add a completely new dimension to technology and safety in the field of underwater pile driving,” says Arie Kromhout, Managing Director of IHC Hydrohammer®.

Major investment in pile driver rental fleet

IHC Hydrohammer® has decided to invest € 37 million in expanding its pile driver rental fleet as well as the further development and production of the IHC Waterhammer® to be able to meet the increasing demand from activities such as the installation of offshore wind turbines.

In Europe, national governments have agreed to supply 20% of their national energy needs from green sources by 2020. This has dramatically increased the need for sustainably produced green energy and offshore wind turbines. This in turn has increased the requirement for large pile driving equipment, which is necessary for the installation of these offshore turbines.

IHC Hydrohammer® has already signed contracts for at least four European windmill projects this year. In 2011, the largest offshore windmill project in the United Kingdom, the London Array, will begin constructing no fewer than 177 pylons – each measuring 4.7 metres in diameter – and IHC Hydrohammer® has been asked to supply the pile driving equipment for this project.

This upward trend began last year, with IHC Hydrohammer® being actively involved in several large projects in the offshore wind turbine installation market. Together with other IHC Merwede companies, such as IHC Handling Systems, it has supplied this developing market with specialist equipment and expertise. The environment has always been a high priority for each of the projects.