Drones Lift SgurrEnergy’s Turbine Inspection Game

SgurrEnergy, part of Wood Group’s clean energy business, has introduced unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to its existing inspection service offering after obtaining the Civil Aviation Authority‘s Permission for Aerial Work.

Source: SgurrEnergy

The renewable energy and grid integration consultancy’s UAVs, or drones as they’re more commonly known, are equipped with a variety of camera options to provide a detailed assessment of an asset’s condition.

Operations and maintenance inspections on wind turbine generators (WTGs) can be carried out up to four times faster than traditional rope access methods, meaning there is very limited downtime required, SgurrEnergy said. The safety risk to inspection personnel is also significantly reduced, if not eradicated thanks to the UAV’s ability to capture multi-angle, high-definition photos of hard-to-reach spaces.

SgurrEnergy’s software can analyse the drone-captured inspection data and convert it into asset information for clients. By using the company’s interactive, online reporting portal, site owners and operators can identify historical trends, linking defects directly to WTG performance. This solution is said to allow clients to maximise annual energy production (AEP) on their sites through the identification of defects causing underperformance and reduction of downtime during an inspection campaign.

With this information, clients can better calculate the cost-benefit ratio of when to carry out repairs whilst defects can be viewed by severity classification, defect type and position on the blade. This has been achieved through the support of Wood Group’s digital solutions capability, which provides engineering design and operational management solutions unavailable to other UAV operators active in wind turbine inspection, according to SgurrEnergy.

Robbie Gibson, Director of Asset Management at SgurrEnergy, said: “SgurrEnergy’s wide range of operational and maintenance services are designed to optimise operational performance and increase the revenue generation of our clients’ projects whilst reducing operational costs. We’re always striving to improve our client offering and by introducing an innovative software reporting system our clients can recognise dangerous trends and make better-informed
asset management decisions.”