Autonomous O&M pilot project to start next month offshore Germany
Northland Power has selected Subsea Europe Services as its partner for a pilot project at the Deutsche Bucht offshore wind farm that will place autonomous marine survey and underwater inspection at the heart of its operations and maintenance (O&M) programmes.
Northland Power will task Subsea Europe Services’ uncrewed surface vessel (USV) Autonomous Surveyor and hovering autonomous underwater vehicle (HAUV) A.IKANBILIS to deliver the complete offshore wind foundation survey and inspection scope.
While the Autonomous Surveyor USV will conduct multibeam echosounder surveys to monitor the inter-array cable routes and potential scouring at the foundations, the A.IKANBILIS HAUV will conduct general visual inspections of the foundations, from water level all the way down to the seabed.
All survey and inspection work will be carried out with only minimal human involvement.
“This project is a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate the power of True Autonomy when applied to both surface and underwater tasks at an operating wind farm“, said Sören Themann, CEO of Subsea Europe Services.
“Our approach makes it possible to significantly reduce the number of personnel and vessels required on-site, which unlocks HSE, environmental and economic benefits while optimising workflows for faster acquisition of higher quality data using fewer resources.”
The green light for the pilot project, which starts in July, follows the successful harbour testing of Subsea Europe Services’ Autonomous Surveyor and A.IKANBILIS, which took place in May on the Albert Betz service operation vessel (SOV) in Eemshaven, the Netherlands.
A.INKABILIS completed trials at the Nordsee One offshore wind farm in Germany in September last year.
“New technologies including autonomous platforms are integral to optimising our O&M strategies“, said Jan Schmökel, Balance of Plant Engineer, Northland Power.
Both autonomous platforms will remain resident at the offshore wind farm for the duration of the pilot project, using the SOV for the safe and efficient launch, recovery, and storage of the Autonomous Surveyor and A.IKANBILIS.
The SOV will become the mothership and centre of operations for autonomous survey and underwater inspection operations within an automated project workflow: from planning and execution to reporting and data delivery, said Subsea Europe Services.
According to the company, this approach reduces the number of personnel and vessels required offshore, making the wind farm a safer, greener, and even more efficient workplace.
Fully completed in 2020, the 252 MW Deutsche Bucht offshore wind farm is located some 95 kilometres northwest of the Borkum Island in Germany.
The project features 31 MHI Vestas V164-8.4 MW wind turbines that have been generating power since the end of September 2019.