Oil-free bubble curtains protecting marine life - Atlas Copco Taiwan
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Oil-free bubble curtains protecting marine life

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When operating in open waters, we should not underestimate the role of oil-free, as it is vital when the air is in direct contact with the environment. 


An example is the use of oil-free air for the creation of underwater bubble curtains for sound mitigation.

As the sound released during construction of offshore wind foundations at sea is five times higher underwater than in open air, sea mammals experience nuisance that can result in deafness or disorientation. According to European legislation, the impact to the marine life has to be mitigated. The state of the art measure recognized by European regulators is the generation of a local temporary bubble curtain.

Bubble curtain: how does it work?

Specialized offshore operators calculate and establish temporary bubble curtains when supporting windfarm construction companies.

Before connecting the hammer, these experts install the bubble curtain at the bottom of the sea, around the construction site. They connect a perforated hose to a compressor and place it around each pile of the seabed. The air to produce the bubbles is supplied by 100% oil-free air compressors.

When in operation, these compressors release small air bubbles from the perforated hose, creating a noise reducing screen – made from these air bubbles. This bubble curtain, from seabed to the surface, can reduce the noise levels by more than 90% and thus protect sea life.

Why oil-free air?

The role of oil-free is vital for environmental reasons as the air is in direct contact with the environment. There is no point in risking environmental oil pollution, as oil contamination (even by the smallest quantities of oil) could be harmful for marine life.

Compressors with oil removal filters deliver a solution that is often referred to as “technically oil-free air”. However, to achieve even barely acceptable air quality with oil-injected compressors, it is necessary to install multiple expensive components. Only 100% oil-free air compressors will be able to deliver air with Class zero purity and can limit all risks of contamination and possible dangers for business and environment.

Find out more about the how Atlas Copco services the offshore industry for temporary needs.

Michel Jasica

Manager Offshore - North Sea region at Atlas Copco Rental Europe