Your initiative also gave rise to the technology of the so-called ‘large bubble veil’. Do you see yourself as a mentor, co-developer, or source of ideas for this development?
As a source of ideas, we are delighted when some people and companies take an entrepreneurial risk. The train is clearly heading in the direction that bubble curtains have to be used in many projects where there is noise underwater.
From an economic point of view, it was exciting for us to see how many companies could potentially be active in this area based in Schleswig-Holstein. Analytics, securing, salvage of ammunition – these are all areas in which local companies are active. That was also an interesting result of the first Kiel symposium.
We were able to make it clear to the Ministry of the Interior that every euro invested promotes a special, innovative part of the Schleswig-Holstein economy in the medium and long term. Hydrotechnik Lübeck is one of the profiteers with its bubble curtains. Mr. Grunau was able to open up a new field of business. In the beginning, he had to grow financially. But he brought the necessary ‘goodwill’ with him. In the meantime, he has been able to expand this technology, has converted a special ship for his work, and now earns his money in the offshore sector.
The federal government wants to phase out nuclear energy by 2030. Huge wind farms are currently being built in the North Sea. Large construction sites that also generate not inconsiderable noise. What conflicts of interest arise there? After all, it’s about our future electricity generation.
The oceans are noisy for many reasons. Piling work for wind farms, especially in the North Sea, has its negative part in this. This noise is different from explosions, where the full energy occurs immediately. With pile driving, there is a slightly slower increase in sound energy. On the other hand, the abundance of pile driving is dangerous for marine animals. A foundation sometimes requires more than 20,000 blows, the energy of which can accumulate in the ear to a harmful dose over many kilometers. Something needs to be done here too.
For a long time, the Federal Environment Ministry has resisted issuing conditions. Above all, the group of pure climate protectors feared an impairment in the expansion of wind energy. They have now recognized that the bubble curtain is an environmentally friendly solution. But the same applies here: Avoidance would be better. Simultaneously, the Federal Environment Agency has set limit values that are now required by the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency. Hydrotechnik Lübeck can now offer the technology for the required noise reduction. For projects that cost billions, additional amounts of 30,000 to 40,000 euros per foundation no longer play a major role.