Offshore Companies Developing Drone For Windfarm Spare Parts

Credit: Esvagt
Credit: Esvagt

Published Jan 27, 2020 5:50 PM by The Maritime Executive

Esvagt, Siemens Gamesa and Ørsted are developing a drone-based solution for the delivery of spare parts and tools from Esvagt's service vessels to offshore wind turbines.

The drones will deliver packages weighing up to three to four kilograms directly to the nacelle.

The challenge is that the nacelles are moving, following the wind, the blades are rotating, and the vessels is constantly working in new areas in the offshore wind farm.

“Our ambition is to get a drone to transport spare parts between two variable points, following a route that will be adjusted along the way. It is complex, even when using drone pilots, and it becomes even more demanding once you add the changing weight of the cargo, the wind’s impact, the use of magnetic compass in an offshore farm with lots of steel, and so on. But the potential in finding a solution is extremely interesting,” says Flemming Hjorth, Head of New Services Business Development at Esvagt.

The project is sponsored by the European Regional Development Fund and runs until June 2020.

Esvagt has previously been involved in a drone project with EWPL Ocean for the inspection of wind turbine blades where the drones are piloted from Esvagt's vessels. Turbine blade inspections are traditionally currently done via camera from the turbine tower foundation, via drone from a vessel or by a photographer from a helicopter. All three solutions require reasonable weather and are typically done during summer. However, once the recordings are analyzed, there is often no time left in summer to undertake repairs. In contrast, Esvagt's drone system can be employed year-round.