DecomTools Project Seeks Sustainable End-of-Life Solutions

The European Union’s Interreg North Sea will fund the DecomTools project to develop eco-innovative concepts for the end-of-life for offshore wind farms.

The DecomTools project has gathered 13 European partners with the aim to work on a logistic improvement to the dismantling of deteriorating offshore wind farms and keeping the CO2 emissions associated with this as low as possible. Partners from Germany, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, England and Norway are all involved in the project backed by the Interreg North Sea Region Programme with EUR  4.7 million.

Most offshore wind farms have an effective lifespan of 20 to 25 years, upon which the wind farm should either be replaced by modern components (repowered) or decommissioned with a sensible disposal of individual components.

“We are trying to discover the conditions under which repowering is technically possible and economically sensible,” said Dr. Stephan Kotzur, Director of the Institute of Logistics at the University of Applied Sciences, Emden/Leer (HILOG); the lead partner in DecomTools alongside the faculty of Maritime Studies.

The research will be supported by validation projects in the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark, taking in oil and gas decommissioning experiences from partners in the UK and Norway.

''Whether repowering or decommissioning, the dismantling of the redundant parts should be carried out cost-efficiently and with a minimized environmental footprint,'' said Prof. Dr. Marcus Bentin, Dean of the Faculty of Maritime Studies.

“Cutting costs and reducing CO2 from the dismantled parts is a key objective within the project.”

The national Danish innovation network for the offshore industry, Offshoreenergy.dk, sees a big potential in the DecomTool-project.

“The environmental footprint from dismantling an offshore wind farm is quite far from reflecting the positive effect made by the wind farm whilst in production. By applying ideas from the circular economy, the DeComTools-project aims to find cost-effective and environmentally sustainable solutions for the industry,” said Glenda Napier, CEO at Offshoreenergy.dk, one of the 13 partnering organisations behind the project.