Ørsted drones on about robotic wind turbine blades inspection

The technology helped reduce down time from around two hours to 20 minutes

Festival Net Zero 2021

Automated drones have been used to inspect the world’s biggest turbine blades at a UK offshore wind farm.

Ørsted joined forces with SkySpecs to assess the 80m turbine blades – as long as nine double decker buses – that stand a staggering 195m above sea level at the Burbo Bank Extension wind farm.

Drones inspection provides blade data and analytics tool to help understand the health of the turbines and are expected to reduce check-up times by 85%.

Ørsted said inspection time fell from around two hours to 20 minutes.

David-Lee Jones, Ørsted’s Senior Technical Project Lead added: “Wind turbine technology has surpassed the industry’s expectations, making huge strides in innovation in a surprisingly short amount of time. Our 8MW turbines at Burbo Bank Extension, the largest wind turbines in the world, were installed in 2016.

“Bigger turbines have certainly helped in the rapid cost reduction we’ve seen in offshore wind but also means we face new technical challenges in terms of inspecting and maintaining the turbines. Providing consistent image quality across the largest turbines offshore requires consistency from the drone. This was the purpose of our work with SkySpecs. We really wants to validate that their technology could provide the type of precise and robust inspection capabilities that Ørsted expects.”

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