EDF to deploy underwater drones to inspect offshore wind farms

Underwater robots will autonomously carry out maintenance work for offshore wind turbines

Big Zero Report 2022

What if offshore wind turbines were inspected by underwater robots?

EDF has deployed a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to carry out what is believed to be the first autonomous offshore wind farm foundation inspection.

The technology was trialed at EDF’s Blyth Offshore Wind Farm in Northumberland, England.

The ROV carried out visual inspections of the foundations of three offshore wind turbines.

The trial aimed to demonstrate the drone’s ability to work autonomously at offshore wind projects and assess the condition of cables and structures.

The deployment of the drone technology follows a partnership between EDF and the ORCA Hub.

The drone was also used to create a 3D reconstruction model of parts of the underwater assets – this will be used to monitor how microorganisms, plants and algae accumulate on the turbine foundations.

EDF said further tests were needed to estimate the time required to inspect all of the turbine foundations and to demonstrate the full potential of marine robotic technology.

Maxime Duchet, Offshore Wind Research Engineer at EDF Research and Development UK Centre, said: “These images and the modelling they enable, will greatly enhance our ability to carry out operations and maintenance activities onsite.

“It is clear from these initial results that the technology can ensure safer and faster operations and a reduced carbon footprint.”

Image: ORCA Hub
Image: ORCA Hub

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