The project partners will work with subcontractors to find a solution using drones to deliver packages weighing between 3-4kg to turbines from a service operation vessel.
Esvagt’s head of new services business development, Flemming Hjorth, suggested packages might include small electrical components or a specific tool.
“Delivering these with a drone could potentially spare us a tremendous amount of time and contribute to making the operation of the offshore wind farm efficient,” he said.
While a wind farm technician typically brings spare parts and tools with them to a turbine, if they need additional equipment, they would need to climb down the turbine and collect equipment delivered by the service vessel or a transfer boat.
Navigating nacelles and blades, a mobile service operation vessel, the impact of winds, the changing weight of the cargo and the wind farm’s steel content affecting drones’ compasses, will all be challenging factors, Esvagt stated.
“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,” said Hjorth.
Esvagt, for example, is part of a joint venture with artificial intelligence company Wind Power Lab that uses drones to inspect blades at wind farms operated and piloted from its vessels.