Robotics & Autonomous Systems

Find out more about our robotics and autonomous systems testing and validation facilities.

Find out more

Electrical Infrastructure Research Hub

The Catapult has appointed the University of Strathclyde and the University of Manchester to form the Electrical Infrastructure Research Hub.

Find out more

Automation & Engineering Solutions

Find out more about our work in robotics, autonomous systems and artificial intelligence.

Find out more

Stay Current

Dig deeper into the biggest issues facing offshore wind, wave and tidal energy with our series of Analysis & Insight papers.

Find out more

Innovation Challenges

Solving these technology innovation challenges will help drive down the cost of offshore renewable energy, with positive effects for the industry and UK economy. If your technology has the answer, get in touch via our contact form on the Innovation Challenges page.

Find out more
Modus Seabed Intervention's innovative AUV docking station undergoes trials.

Intro

The cost of surveying the seabed and inspecting subsea cables and foundations represents a major challenge for the offshore wind industry. Inspections and surveys using vessels, technicians and divers are expensive and potentially dangerous, creating a significant market opportunity for disruptive solutions that are cheaper and less risky.

Published
Wed 13 Jun 2018
Last Updated
Tue 14 Aug 2018

Cost savings & quality benefits

Subsea specialist Modus Seabed Intervention, in partnership with engineering firm Osbit Ltd, is developing an innovative approach to enable autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) to remain at offshore wind farm sites without a support vessel, in a move that could shave £1.1billion* from the operating cost of Europe’s offshore wind farms.

The Darlington-based firm is trialling a novel AUV docking station. The design will enable vehicle re-charging, as well as the upload of acquired data and download of mission commands.

“Part of our vision is to see AUVs becoming field-resident,” says Modus’ Jake Tompkins, “offering significant cost savings and quality benefits to the markets and our customers.”

With a battery life of 15 hours and a 40km range, the strategic deployment of docking stations will, in theory, allow the machine to work across multiple offshore wind projects.

The use of AUVs to survey and inspect subsea infrastructure is a relatively new cost-efficiency measure in offshore wind, and replacing support vessels with the AUV docking station could further reduce expenditure. In addition to the estimated £1.1billion saving across the current 11GW offshore wind fleet over the next 25 years, the scheme will significantly reduce the need for staff to work in hazardous environments.

The Catapult is working with Modus as part of the Autonomous Vehicle for the Inspection of offshore wind farm Subsea INfrastructure (AVISIoN) project, which will enable further development, testing and demonstrations of Modus’ existing Hybrid AUV capability, and docking station.

Testing will take place at our National Renewable Energy Centre. The first phase will use our saltwater testing docks and our National Offshore Anemometry Hub.

Part of our vision is to see AUVs becoming field resident, offering significant cost savings and quality benefits to the markets and our customers.

Offshore wind farm developers innogyEDF Energy and E.ON are also supporting the project, with innogy agreeing to carry out commercial trials at the 576MW Gwynt y Môr wind farm, off the oast of north Wales.

*Offshore wind farm operators who utilise AUVs can reduce their LCOE by 0.8%. Applying this cost saving for a 400MW representative offshore wind farm (ref, IEA methodology), a 0.8% LCOE reduction will yield cost savings of £1.6m per annum. Across the current 11GW of European installed capacity over this next 25 years, that could equate to as much as £1.1bn.

Find Out How We Can Help You

Enquire about our autonomous subsea and surface technology test and validation services.

contact us

Share

Based in Darlington and Northumberland respectively, Modus and Osbit's partnership is an excellent example of north-east supply chain collaboration.

Offshore wind operators utilising AUVs can reduce LCoE by 0.8%. Applying this for a 400MW farm, a 0.8% LCOE reduction will yield savings of £1.6m p/a. Across Europe's current 11GW capacity over the next 25 years, that could equate to as much as £1.1bn.

ORE Catapult is working with operators and robotics suppliers to develop industry-wide standards for testing future autonomous systems.

More In Modus Seabed Intervention

related case studies

Cookies on Catapult explained

To comply with EU directives we now provide detailed information about the cookies we use. To find out more about cookies on this site, what they do and how to remove them, see our information about cookies. Click OK to continue using this site.

OK