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Some of the technologies will be demonstrated on ORE Catapult’s 7MW Levenmouth Demonstration Turbine
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Offshore wind robotics challenge rewards two more UK innovators

Published 7 June 2021

A further two UK companies have been awarded a major opportunity to develop and demonstrate their innovative robotic solutions with GE Renewable Energy and the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult.

Eleven-I and Innvotek have both successfully applied to a robotics innovation call, the latest in a series of challenge competitions through GE Renewable Energy and ORE Catapult’s ‘Stay Ashore’ research and development programme, delivered through the Offshore Wind Innovation Hub’s Innovation Exchange (OWiX) in partnership with KTN.

Derbyshire-based Eleven-I, which provides instrumentation hardware, software and data analysis technologies, has been selected to develop its blade monitoring and analysis system used to monitor blade health throughout its lifetime, from post-manufacture and transportation through to operation. Innvotek, a Cambridge-based technology innovation consultancy, was successful in its application to further develop a robotic crawler, equipped with bolt inspection capability and a tightening tool for generator maintenance.

Both companies will now go on to receive a raft of technical support, guidance and demonstration opportunities with GE Renewable Energy and ORE Catapult. They also follow two previous UK innovation challenge winners announced in November last year, Tethys and Aerones, which focused on developing novel blade maintenance technology solutions for GE.

The development of robotics technology is seen as vital for the offshore wind sector, which, according to ORE Catapult research, could cut its inspection costs by almost 40% through integrating remote operations, robotics and automated systems into operations and maintenance activities.

Anthony Gordon, ‘Stay Ashore’ programme manager and Senior Product Manager at GE Renewable Energy, said:

“GE Renewable Energy is thrilled to continue partnering with ORE Catapult, OWiX and KTN to bring more robotics innovation to the spotlight through this challenge. We believe that robotics solutions such as the ones presented by Eleven-I and Innvotek have the ability to significantly reduce operations and maintenance costs for offshore wind turbines like the Haliade-X. We are looking forward to seeing their innovation demonstrations.”

Bill Slatter, CEO of Eleven-I, said:

“The opportunities for Eleven-I from this challenge award and from the support of GE Renewable Energy, ORE Catapult, OWiX and KTN are critical to the continued development and demonstration of our technology offering to the wind market. We’re very excited to be working with these partners to make a real contribution to the aims of the ‘Stay Ashore’ research and development programme, by reducing dependency on manual inspections and increased adoption of autonomous asset monitoring.”

Michael Corsar, CTO of Innvotek, said:

“Innvotek are delighted to be working with GE Renewable Energy and ORE Catapult to develop and demonstrate our technology which will make offshore wind turbine inspection and maintenance safer and more cost effective. Our goal is to provide innovative solutions to support the continued growth of offshore wind energy. This programme is enormously valuable as it provides a unique partnership and in-depth expertise to boost the development of our robotic technology for offshore wind.”

Graham Smith, Programme Manager at ORE Catapult, said:

“The second robotics challenge within the four-year Stay Ashore research collaboration between GE and ORE Catapult received many applications from strong UK companies, and together with KTN and GE we are very pleased to be able to provide opportunities for these companies to access the fast-growing offshore renewables sector by delivering value with cutting edge technical innovation.”