Wind Energy – Drones
Offshore wind giant Ørsted has become the first offshore wind company in the world to use autonomous giant drones to transport cargo to turbines.
Building on its previous expertise using smaller drones in other countries, Ørsted is now trialling the 58kg drones, with a wingspan of 2.6 metres to transport cargo of up to 68kg, in the UK.
The drone size is the equivalent weight of a large baby giraffe, with the wingspan of an albatross.
The use of these drones to deliver cargo to Ørsted’s Hornsea 1 windfarm will reduce costs and time as well as improving operational safety and efficiency. Drones mean less work disturbance as turbines don’t have to be shut down when cargo is delivered. They avoid risk, making it safer for personnel working on the wind farm and minimise the need for multiple journeys by ship, reducing carbon emissions and climate change impacts.
Instead, the drones will be operated from existing crew transfer vessels (CTVs) and Service Operating Vessels (SOVs) which are already on site.
Ørsted has used smaller drones for some time with much lighter loads and is now leading the industry in deployment on a larger scale. The company is actively seeking partnerships with the best drone cargo operators and services providers to help grow the supply chain in the UK.
Mikkel Haugaard Windolf who is heading the project for Ørsted’s offshore logistics team, said: “At Ørsted we want to use our industry leading position to help push forward innovations that reduce costs and maximise efficiency and safety in the offshore wind sector. Drone cargo delivery is an important step in that direction. We believe the UK can be the first country to commercialise this system in offshore wind farms, acting as global leaders.”