journal article

Investigation of potential metal emissions from galvanic anodes in offshore wind farms into North Sea sediments


To evaluate potential metal emissions from offshore wind farms (OWFs), 215 surface sediment samples from different German North Sea OWFs taken between 2016 and 2022 were analyzed for their mass fractions of metals and their isotopic composition of Sr. For the first time, this study provides large-scale elemental data from OWFs of the previously proposed galvanic anode tracers Cd, Pb, Zn, Ga and In. Results show that mass fractions of the legacy pollutants Cd, Pb and Zn were mostly within the known variability of North Sea sediments. At the current stage the analyzed Ga and In mass fractions as well as Ga/In ratios do not point towards an accumulation in sediments caused by galvanic anodes used in OWFs. However, further investigations are advisable to evaluate long-term effects over the expected lifetime of OWFs, especially with regard to the current intensification of offshore wind energy development.
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