Skip to main content

EDF deploys underwater drones to inspect wind farm foundations

EDF has deployed a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to carry out autonomous wind farm foundation inspections at its Blyth Offshore Wind Farm, UK.

Energy company EDF has deployed a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to carry out autonomous wind farm foundation inspections at its Blyth Offshore Wind Farm, UK.

This is the first time such a deployment has been undertaken, according to EDF, and resulted from a partnership with ORCA Hub to test potential applications for drone technology to autonomously assess offshore wind turbines.

The modified ROV, operated by researchers from the ORCA Hub, carried out visual inspections and recorded videos of three offshore turbine foundations over the course of four days.

This story was originally published on Power Engineering International here.

The drone assessed the exterior condition of turbine foundations and cables and created 3D models of underwater parts, allowing for the monitoring of the marine ecosystem.

Maxime Duchet, offshore wind research engineer at EDF R&D UK Centre, stated: “These trials have showcased the ability of autonomous inspection drones to collect high-quality images off offshore turbine technology. These images, and the modelling they enable, will greatly enhance our ability to carry out operations and maintenance activities on-site.

“Further tests are needed to estimate the time required to inspect all of the turbine foundations and to demonstrate the full potential of marine robotic technology. However, it is clear from these initial results that the technology can ensure safer and faster operations and a reduced carbon footprint.”

Paul Clarke, portfolio manager for offshore wind at EDF Renewables UK, said: “Marine robotics is a booming field with a myriad of applications for offshore wind farms, and we’re delighted to have partnered with the ORCA Hub for this successful trial. The drone proved its ability to work autonomously and make a significant contribution to turbine operation and maintenance, and we’re excited at the possibilities afforded by drone technology to further streamline these procedures.”

ORCA Hub is a strategic project within the National Robotarium, a research laboratory based out of Heriot-Watt University in Scotland.

Dr Sen Wang, lead of robotics and autonomous systems at the National Robotarium, said: “…Due to their locations, offshore wind farms are costly and difficult to monitor and maintain with the industry currently facing a range of challenges such as cost, safety and operational logistics.

“The ORCA Hub can help its partners to overcome many of these challenges. We are already demonstrating the many benefits of using robotics in the offshore renewable sector, giving service providers and operators, like EDF, a wealth of information and data to support their planning, maintenance and decision-making while reducing costs, risks and carbon footprint.”

Data & News supplied by
Stock quotes supplied by Barchart
Quotes delayed at least 20 minutes.
By accessing this page, you agree to the following
Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.