Robotic arm comes within ocean energy sector’s reach

A new European project, named Kraken, has officially started aiming to develop a viable robotic arm to be used with remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) for the inspection, repair and maintenance (IRM) of ocean energy devices.

The project, supported with €350.000 of Oceanera-Net funding, gathers four partners from three different countries, including WavEC Offshore Renewables and Instituto Super Técnico from Portugal (IST), SIANI from Spanish Canary Islands and CADFEM from Ireland.

The kick-off meeting between the abovementioned organizations took place in July 2017 during which the parties established the first actions for the development of the project whose goal is to tackle the existing gap in the ROV tools specially designed for the ocean energy sector needs, with the objective to reduce the high OPEX costs associated with underwater IRM services.

Namely, the ocean energy sector is currently obliged to use standard solutions that are commonly used in the oil and gas industry, which have a higher cost due to the lack of tools specially designed for the ocean energy technologies, according to WavEC.

The overarching objective of the project is to develop the robotic arm that must be able to perform tasks similar to the ones that are performed by divers, which could result in the decrease of logistics and consequently halve the cost of IRM services for the sector as it would eliminate the need for work class ROVs and human intervention, the organizations have said.

The 30-month project will seek to develop IP owned by WavEC and IST, whose performance will be evaluated in the low depth trials with underwater dexterity tests.