The world’s first fully remote inspection of offshore wind farm assets has been successfully carried out by Fugro, using one of its Blue Essence uncrewed surface vessels (USVs) with Blue Volta, an electrical remotely operated vehicle (eROV).
The inspection at the Aberdeen offshore wind farm in the North Sea (also known as the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre) was jointly funded by Vattenfall and Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult. This partnership gives innovators in the offshore wind supply chain the opportunity to test and prove technologies in real-world conditions to support innovation in operations and maintenance.
Blue Essence is the first USV to receive approval from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) to operate fully remotely with an eROV and undertake surveys in UK waters. The eROV, which was remotely launched and recovered from Fugro’s remote operations centre (ROC) in Aberdeen, delivered a number of inspections on the structure of the wind turbines to assess their stability and safety. A detailed map of the seabed was also created using data gathered from a deepwater multibeam echosounder sensor mounted on the hull of the vessel. The acquired Geo-data was accessed in real-time, allowing Vattenfall to make quick decisions about their asset maintenance programme.
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