UK companies demonstrate new tech to aid offshore wind maintenance

Aug. 31, 2022
Innvotek has further developed a robotic crawler, which uses magnetic technology to attach itself to a turbine generator and carry out maintenance, while Eleven-I has further developed its structural health monitoring system.

Offshore staff

GLASGOW, Scotland  Two UK companies have effectively demonstrated technology solutions, alongside GE Renewable Energy and the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, to support future offshore wind developments.

Eleven-I and Innvotek carried out the work through GE Renewable Energy and ORE Catapult’s "Stay Ashore" R&D program, and the Robotics Challenge sub-project delivered through the Offshore Wind Innovation Hub’s Innovation Exchange in partnership with KTN.

Innvotek, a Cambridge-based consultancy, has been able to further develop a robotic crawler, which uses magnetic technology to attach itself to a turbine generator and autonomously detect the presence of certain features to carry out vital maintenance work.

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

Both companies were able to make extensive use of the technical support and testing capabilities offered by working directly with ORE Catapult and GE Renewable Energy, and this led to valuable learnings for both, which they can now add into the future deployment of their technology.

The development of robotics is seen as a vital component in the future rollout of offshore wind developments in the UK, and according to ORE Catapult research, could cut inspection costs by almost 40% in the years to come.

Earlier this month, Distgen Faccombe LGC Ltd. supported BladeBUG Ltd., a robotic startup based in London, with the use of its wind asset during recent BladeBug technology field trials. BladeBug develops advanced robots to assist technicians in the inspection and repair of turbine blades, without the need for rope access. The BladeBug technology is a six-legged inspect-and-repair robot that was developed under a £1 million collaboration project between BladeBUG and Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, part funded by Innovate UK.