In case of offshore wind turbine inspections and maintenance, wind turbine technicians bring spare parts and tools when transferring from a vessel to a turbine. However, it often happens that the technicians need additional spare parts, smaller electrical components, or a specific tool. Currently, such a scenario requires the technicians to climb down the turbine and collect equipment delivered by the service vessel or a transfer boat. These bring extra time and costs on crews and vessels, extra fuel expenses, as well as time wasted and security risks of turbine technicians.
The solution is to use a drone to transport equipment and spare parts between two points: a service vessel and a wind turbine, following a route that is adjustable along the way. We are currently working on developing an offshore package delivery system where the package will be autonomously transported from a vessel to the nearest wind turbine. The vessel-wind-turbine concept is going to cover a distance of 4 km with a 5 kg payload.
The potential reduction in costs is directly connected to the typical downtime of a turbine, the time a technician spends on obtaining spare parts or additional tools as well as costs of crew and gasoline of service vessel which in some cases has to return to the wind-turbine to transport equipment. The offshore package delivery system could optimize processes and contribute to making the operation of an offshore wind farm more efficient. Including the cases where it is assumed to use Upteko’s offshore package delivery system instead of crew transfer/ service vessels (CTV’s) and helicopters, it is possible to estimate that the potential savings would be between 1.717.279 and 5.480.048 Euros per year. The calculations are based on standard prices, downtime, and the number of technicians for a typical assignment. These prices are compared with the expected price and downtime for using the drone-based transport system.
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This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 876557
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