The wind turbine market is growing rapidly and will remain a key renewable energy option in the coming decades, in line with the growing global demand for clean energy and the zero-pollution emission goal part of the European Union’s Green Deal.
Currently, offshore wind turbine maintenance services are provided with rope access. The turbine is stopped for a few days and vessels are involved for the whole duration of the operation. As a result, the Operational & Maintenance (O&M) service is time and resource expensive and produces significant amounts of CO2 emissions.
Aerones project aims at developing an innovative robotic offshore wind turbine maintenance system prototype that will not require rope access, will be managed remotely and will make the O&M service less-resource intensive. The offshore prototype will be developed by adapting the already established and ready-to-commercialise Aerones onshore technology. Remote assistance will significantly increase the security level for workers while granting a service 3 to 6 times faster than the current solutions. Turbines can be stopped for less time and income losses can be reduced.
Aerones robotized maintenance system will decrease crew transfer vessel fuel costs and will thus allow for more frequent inspections. Early stage maintenance interventions can prevent wind turbine blades from progressing to serious damage where the energy produced drops by 30% or the turbine even stops. In this way, the efficiency of the wind turbine improves and its lifetime is extended.
Through improved turbine generator efficiency and maritime logistics as well as generators’ reduced standstill time, the project estimates to cut CO2 emissions by an aggregated figure of 6,423,000 tonnes, to reduce marine litter by 10 tonnes and rotor blade waste by 3,500 tonnes. Moreover, Aerones system, by being suitable also for larger and deeper at sea located wind turbine generators, can also contribute to the improvement of coastline landscapes.
To see how Aerones onshore system works in practice you can watch the video in this section of Aerones website. The project took part in the World Circular Economy Forum side-event dedicated to Circular Design for the Sustainability of the Offshore Renewable Energy Sector on 22 June 2021. If you want to know more about the subject and follow the project presentation, please check the event page.