UK Duo Demonstrates Offshore Wind Tech Solutions

Innvotek and Eleven-I have demonstrated innovative technology solutions, alongside GE Renewable Energy and the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, to support future offshore wind developments.

The two companies carried out the work through GE Renewable Energy and ORE Catapult’s “Stay Ashore” research and development programme, and the Robotics Challenge sub-project delivered through the Offshore Wind Innovation Hub’s Innovation Exchange (OWiX) in partnership with KTN.

Innvotek, a Cambridge-based consultancy, has further developed a robotic crawler that uses magnetic technology to attach itself to a turbine generator and autonomously detect the presence of certain features in order to carry out maintenance work.

Source: Innvotek

Derbyshire-based Eleven-I has used the project to develop its structural health monitoring system which uses software and data analysis to monitor blade health throughout its lifetime.

GE said that the development of robotics is seen as a vital component in the future roll out of offshore wind development in the UK, and according to ORE Catapult research, could cut inspection costs by almost 40 per cent in the years to come.

“The ‘Stay Ashore’ program continues to drive improvements for the offshore wind industry. These innovative solutions aim to improve operational efficiency and safety”, said Vincent Schellings, Chief Technology Officer at GE Renewable Energy Offshore Wind.

“This will be vital as the offshore wind industry grows to meet the world’s decarbonization targets. We’re proud to base this research in the UK, supporting the UK with its target to reach 50 GW of installed offshore wind capacity by 2030.”

In April, ORE Catapult and GE Renewable Energy tested a six-legged robot that the companies say could bring the wind industry over GBP 250 million in savings annually.

The testing showed how BladeBUG’s robot can inspect wind turbine bolts autonomously, eliminating the need for technicians to loosen and retighten thousands of bolts per wind turbine as part of routine maintenance.

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Photo: ORE Catapult/Illustration