November 3, 2023
Ørsted has introduced “giant drones” to its offshore renewable energy operations, to autonomously deliver cargo to turbines.
The 128-pound drones have a wingspan of 8.5 feet and can transport cargo weighing up to 150 pounds. The Danish energy company says it is the first offshore wind company in the world to use drones of this scale.
The devices are currently being piloted at the U.K.’s Hornsea 1 offshore wind farm, showcased in a video released by Ørsted which shows the drone carrying and dropping cargo to a platform on a Siemens Gamesa turbine at the wind farm.
According to Ørsted the drone project will reduce costs, improve safety and boost efficiency at its offshore operations.
“Drones mean less work disturbance as turbines don’t have to be shut down when cargo is delivered,” the company said in a statement. “They avoid risk, making it safer for personnel working on the wind farm and minimize the need for multiple journeys by ship, reducing carbon emissions and climate change impacts.”
The drones will be operated from existing crew transfer vessels and Service Operating Vessels, which are already located on site.
Ørsted has previously deployed smaller drones for delivery purposes, and the company said the latest project will be something of a game changer in rolling out this technology on a larger scale.
“At Ørsted we want to use our industry leading position to help push forward innovations that reduce costs and maximize efficiency and safety in the offshore wind sector,” said Mikkel Haugaard Windolf, project lead. “Drone cargo delivery is an important step in that direction.
“We believe the U.K. can be the first country to commercialize this system in offshore wind farms, acting as global leaders.”
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