Subsea drone charging platform

The lifetime operation and maintenance of wind farms amounts to approximately 25-30% of its total costs and is expected to increase as wind farms move further offshore.[1] As the wind industry is exploring ways to reduce costs, it is anticipated that subsea drones will replace human divers and the need for their transport out to sea, as a cheaper and safer alternative to inspect subsea systems.[2]

Wireless and untethered subsea drones are already capable of operating at depths of up to 60m and durations of 2 hours.[3] However, improvements on communication through water for information transmission such as video is needed to reach deeper depths. [4] Likewise, machine learning algorithms will be needed to automate the drones to follow pathways around the moorings and to send alerts when hazards are detected.

Subsea drones at floating wind parks will need recharging stations to ensure ongoing operation and inspection. Furthermore, electricity substations are needed to convert power from wind turbines to recharge the drones. Making these platforms mobile would allow the drones to reach the windmills at the edges of the park.

When will subsea drone charging platforms be in operation at floating wind parks?

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[1] Röckmann C., Lagerveld S., Stavenuiter J. (2017) Operation and Maintenance Costs of Offshore Wind Farms and Potential Multi-use Platforms in the Dutch North Sea.
[2] Measure, (2020), Drone for Wind Turbine Inspections
[3] Cherdo. L, (2020), The 17 best underwater drones in 2020
[4] Periscope, (2020), Underwater data lasers

By Matthew J. Spaniol