Ørsted has teamed up with Danish transport and logistics company DSV to test cargo drones at an offshore wind farm in Denmark.
The trial will involve long-distance drone transport of spare parts and tools at Anholt Offshore Wind Farm in the Kattegat.
Offshore wind farms are usually located far from the shore and service technicians and the necessary spare parts are usually transported via ships.
If special spare parts are need for the wind turbines, technicians must go back onshore to get them, which is both costly and time-consuming and repairs are often delayed until the following day.
As an alternative, Ørsted believes, cargo drones can offer logistics support, especially for small spare parts, which would lead to a much faster restart of wind turbines.
The test flights will run over two weeks, during which the drone will demonstrate it is capable of delivering components from Ørsted’s operations base at the Port of Grenaa to the offshore substation 25km out at sea and potentially, to the wind turbines.
They could provide an alternative to ships, especially for small spare parts, contributing to a much faster wind turbine restart.
— Ørsted (@Orsted) June 29, 2022
The trials will be conducted using a renewable-powered electric drone with a range of 100km and a payload capacity of 2.5kg.
Klaus Baggesen Hilger, Head of Operations Digital & Innovation at Ørsted said: “At Ørsted, we’re constantly exploring new opportunities to minimise downtime for wind turbines and increase renewable power production. 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 drones are powered by renewable electricity and will fly autonomously to the offshore substation but we’re hoping to test the drones on flights to the wind turbines at a later stage. By being able to quickly and efficiently deliver the spare parts needed for repairs, wind turbine downtime can be reduced, thereby increasing the production of clean energy. At the same time, the need for transport by ship is reduced as well as the carbon emissions from operating offshore wind farms.”