Robotics & Autonomous Systems

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

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Electrical Infrastructure Research Hub

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

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Automation & Engineering Solutions

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

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Stay Current

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

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Live Innovation Opportunities

There are a number of programmes laying out the key technology innovation challenges faced by the offshore renewables industry that, when solved, will help drive down the cost of offshore renewable energy, with positive effects for the industry and UK economy. Visit our Live Innovation Opportunities page to find out if your technology has the answer.

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About

ORE Catapult’s Levenmouth Demonstration Turbine (LDT) is unique among offshore wind testing facilities. The towering 7MW machine is the world’s most advanced, open-access offshore wind turbine dedicated to research and plays host to some of the industry’s most exciting new technologies for testing and validation.

Connected to shore by a short ramp, the Levenmouth Demonstration Turbine is an integral part of our Testing and Validation facilities. It allows developers to demonstrate new systems and methods – without the associated time and costs of conducting tests at a working offshore wind farm.

Since 2016, LDT has attracted 119 SMEs for technology development, testing or demonstration. It is also a key asset in our core research and development programme with 45 projects completed or under contract at the facility.

 

Robotics and Automation

ORE Catapult believes that the offshore wind sector has the potential to cut its inspection costs by almost 40 per cent by integrating robotics and automated systems into its operations. LDT is the test-bed for both SMEs and academic developers working in this area, hosting demonstrations of crawling, climbing, aerial and sub-sea robots.

In 2018, Livingston-based Cyberhawk was one of a group of autonomous inspection providers that were invited by the Catapult to perform representative commercial tests on the turbine so that an industry baseline for quality inspection could be identified. Later in the year, Edinburgh’s MarynSol tested its SeaSmart automated marine survey using autonomous vehicles at the Levenmouth Demonstration Turbine.

Over the next two years, the turbine will also see trials of the ground-breaking MIMRee robotic inspect-and-repair mission, which brings together drones, blade crawlers and autonomous vessels together in fully automated missions.

Offshore Wind UAV

 

Training and Personnel Transfer Systems

Located just metres from shore, the Levenmouth Demonstration Turbine provides an accessible facility for conducting technician training and testing innovative crew transfer systems.

In 2016, Limpet Technology approached ORE Catapult to seek help in developing their ‘Get Up Safe’ (GUS) system, a motion compensated personnel hoist that provides maintenance teams with ladder-free access to offshore wind farms. After successful trials at the Levenmouth turbine, they were invited by global offshore wind leaders, Ørsted, to further demonstrate GUS on two of their UK wind farms, leading to Ørsted acquiring a 22.5% stake in Limpet spin-off company, Pict Offshore.

 

Data and Digitalisation

The turbine is also the test-bed for experimentation with a variety of new digital applications, led by ORE Catapult’s Data and Digitalisation team in partnership with technology developers. Bristling with more than 120 packages of instrumentation, the facility hosts everything from lidar installations, novel lightning strike detection systems and even sensors that monitor the conditions within its nuts and bolts.

The turbine has enabled an ORE Catapult competition, funded by the Scottish Government, to develop sensor technology and data systems that can help with product development as well as operation and maintenance of wind farms. Among those successful in the competition and now fitting the turbine with sensors are three Scottish companies, Turner Iceni, Sensor-works and Hydrasun. See all ORE Catapult’s Innovation Challenges for SMEs.

The onshore met mast at the site enables the testing, calibration and verification of onshore lidar systems. With access to high-quality wind resources and environmental data, developers and manufacturers can compare and verify new remote sensing techniques against traditional methods.

 

STEM, Skills and Local Opportunities

ORE Catapult Levenmouth Demonstration Turbine Offshore Wind Skills Development

Since 2016, the Catapult has funded a STEM ambassador at Levenmouth Academy which has evolved into a full-time STEM Principle Teacher position, delivering extensive programmes throughout the school in areas such as robotics, drones and programming.

The Academy was also a beneficiary of ORE Catapult’s STEM Club Start-Up programme, which used funding from the Royal College of Engineering to spark local children’s interest in offshore renewable energy as a future career.

Other ways in which the Catapult has created opportunity for young people in the area are:

    Providing hands-on experience and training for Fife College turbine technicians
    Collaborative development of a next-generation Immersive Hybrid Reality offshore wind turbine for education and training for use in local schools and training centres
    Contributing to the development of a renewable energy curriculum across the Scottish College Network.

 

Award of the Section 36 Consent Variation

On Thursday 30 August 2018, ORE Catapult was awarded a Section 36 consent variation by the Scottish Government to operate the Levenmouth turbine until 2029. To request a copy of the Decision Notice, Marine Licence or Section 36 Variation Consent, please Contact Us.

 

Having the turbine available as a site that we can access easily, compared to a genuine offshore site, is enormously valuable... it is of huge significance in terms of reducing the cost and time of bringing new systems to market.

Philip Taylor
Business Development Manager, Limpet Technology

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