Robots for Wind Farms

Project Title

Robots for Wind Farms

Start date

01/01/2022

End date

31/12/2025

Funding body

SEAI

Coordinator

University of Limerick (CRIS)

Principal Investigator

Daniel Toal, PI

Research Area

Offshore Wind Energy

Website

CRIS.ie

Introduction

The inspection and maintenance of (offshore) windfarm installations is a big challenge for operators and service engineering representing a major economic activity. Robot technologies can help increase efficiency, reduce costs and keep workers out of hazardous conditions. The project will develop combined and integrated underwater-aerial cognitive robotic systems to assist human workers in inspection and maintenance activities. Specifically, it will integrate highly manoeuvrable underwater inspection and intervention robots with aerial robots for long range (several kilometres) and very accurate (sub-centimetre) close quarters inspection of the infrastructure capability. The project will base its technology on cognitive mechatronics. It will apply cognitive capabilities with blended human/auto control paradigms and will combine long-range remote operations with endurance and hovering relative to (moving/heaving targets) for local observations and manipulation involving force interactions while coworking with humans. The project will experiment, test and prove the developed technology in the field (at wind farms on shore and offshore above and below the waterline).

Objectives

The objectives of the project are to address the imperative and meet the technical challenges of the inspection and mainatrmence of the offshore wind farms.

  • The projcet will:
    Accelerate the development and deployment in the Irish marketplace of competitive energy-related products, processes and systems: specifically, the Robots for Wind Farms will develop testing, support and catalyse roll out of robot technology for the growing wind farm sector inspection and maintenance.
  • Addresses technical barriers of operating in challenging wind farm sites and will contribute to lowering the LCOE.
  • Grow Ireland’s national capacity to access, develop and apply international class RD&D.

Work Packages

WP1: Project Management

The project overall execution, including reporting, risk management and data management plan.

WP2: Scoping of Auto Inspection, Monitoring, and Maintenance Service Engineering Requirements

Review of offshore wind technology and stakeholder survey.

WP3: Technology Research & Development of Robotic Capabilities for Wind/Offshore  Wind IRM
Develop target referenced inspection of Wind Infrastructure (above and below the waterline) capability relevant to the prevailing environment conditions

WP4: Field Trials Testing and Demonstration of Wind / Offshore Wind IRM Robotics
Trials at Portroe Quarry site.

WP5: Technology Research & Development for More Challenging Deeper Sites and Floating Wind
Trialling and Demo of Resident ROV technology solutions and Remote Command Based Ops at the Floatinmg wind farm.

WP6: Dissemination, Communication  & Exploitation

Dissemination of the results to the key industrial / renewable industry stakeholders and Communicate the progress to the broader set of stakeholders including policymakers.

Deliverables

WP2-D2: Engagement survey report of stakeholders on IRM challenges for wind/offshore wind expansion.

WP3-D2:Technology solutions for Real-time intervention, imaging (laser, camera, sonar, photogrammetry),  probing, manipulation on subsea infrastructure, cables, jackets, pilons, rock armour, GVI, J tubes anchors, risers, corrosion protection, with SUB sea robotics.

WP4-D4: Trials complete and reported for Portroe testing

WP4-D6: Trials complete and reported for Offshore sites (seabed export cables, and infrastructure -piles, jackets, moorings, anchor systems.