Danish energy firm Ørsted is teaming up with Danish logistics firm DSV to trial drone deliveries of spare parts and equipment to its 400MW Anholt Anholt (400MW) OffshoreBetween Djursland and Anholt, North Denmark, Denmark, Europe Click to see full details wind farm in the Kattegat area of the North Sea, between Denmark and Sweden.
Ørsted hopes to be able to minimise downtime at its wind farms and increase their availability as it pursues its goal of carbon neutrality by 2025.
The Danish developer explained that when offshore wind turbines need servicing or repairs, technicians bring the most frequently-needed spare parts and tools with them. Normally they travel by ship, to what can be some distance offshore — 25km in the case of the Anholt wind farm.
But if particular spare parts are needed, they have to go back onshore to get them, causing delays in the service or repair and increasing the time spent offline by the turbine.
Ørsted and DSV hope to see if cargo drones can be used to transport spare parts — especially small ones — to offshore wind farm installations, to enable a faster restart.
Ørsted’s head of digital and innovation Klaus Baggesen Hilger said: “The drones are powered by renewable electricity and will fly autonomously to the offshore substation, but we’re hoping to test the drones on flights to the wind turbines at a later stage.” He added that using drones also cuts carbon emissions by reducing the use of shipping.
DSV stated that it is already using drones in its own logistics centres and is looking at the opportunity to use drones to optimise Ørsted’s onshore-offshore supply chain.
The firms will undertake two weeks of test flights from the port of Grenaa to Anholt’s substation, 25km out to sea, and potentially to the wind turbines themselves.
The drones have a range of 100km and can carry 2.5kg of cargo, according to DSV, which added that the sea trials are the first of their kind. It aims to see if drones are “a realistic logistics supplement” for offshore wind farms.
Ørsted has also installed artificial reef structures at Anholt in a bid to encourage biodiversity.
Anholt features 111 of Siemens Gamesa's SWT-3.6-120 turbines and was commissioned in 2013.