Video: Ørsted Tests Drones to Deliver Parts to Offshore Wind Farms
The latest segment to explore how drones can be used to improve logistics in the offshore wind farm. Wind farm operator Ørsted is partnering with logistics company DSV testing drones to transport spare parts and other materials out to wind farms to ensure faster repairs and maintenance reducing downtime. The companies are conducting the first of their kind oversea trials as they explore the potential for drones.
The companies highlighted that service technicians and necessary spare parts are currently transported by ship out to the offshore wind farm. Technicians, they said, bring their tools and the components most often needed for the wind turbines, but if special spare parts are needed, they must go back onshore to get them. This is both costly and time-consuming, and the repairs are therefore often delayed until the next day.
As an alternative, the companies believe that cargo drones can offer logistics support. They point out it would be especially useful for small spare parts, contributing to a much faster wind turbine restart. They point both to the advantage of quickly and efficiently delivering the spare parts while the need for transport by ship is reduced.
“We’re constantly exploring new opportunities to minimize downtime for wind turbines and increase renewable power production,” said Klaus Baggesen Hilger, Head of Operations Digital & Innovation at Ørsted. “Together with DSV, Ørsted has launched an initiative to bring the spare parts warehouse closer to the service technicians, thereby ensuring that the wind turbines get back online more quickly.”
The test flights will run over two weeks, during which the drone will demonstrate that it is capable of delivering components from Ørsted’s operations base at the Port of Grenaa in eastern Denmark on the Baltic to an offshore substation approximately 15 miles out at sea and, potentially, to the wind turbines. The trials will be conducted using a drone with a range of over 60 miles and a payload capacity of 2.5 kg. The trials aim to test whether cargo drones can serve as a realistic logistics supplement for the company’s many offshore wind farms in operation.
The drones are powered by renewable electricity and will fly autonomously to the offshore substation. At a later stage, they also hope to test the drones on flights to the wind turbines. DSV has engaged the services of Swiss drone supplier RigiTech and Danish operator Holo, both of whom specialize in autonomous mobility solutions to support the drone test flights.