Danish utility Ørsted and compatriot logistics giant DSV have partnered to test long-distance drone transport of spare parts and tools to offshore wind farms. The oversea trials from Grenaa port to Anholt offshore wind farm are the first of their kind, according to Ørsted, and are intended to serve as an alternative to ship transport, which is said to be both expensive and time-consuming.
The test flights will run over two weeks, during which the drone will demonstrate that it is capable of delivering components from the port to the offshore substation 25 km out at sea and, potentially, to the wind turbines. The trials will be conducted using an electric drone with a range of 100 km and a payload capacity of 2.5 kg. The aim of the trials is to test whether cargo drones can serve as a realistic logistics supplement for the company’s other offshore wind farms in operation.
Klaus Baggesen Hilger, head of operations Digital & Innovation at Ørsted, said: “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.
“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.”
DSV is already using drones in its own logistics centres. The company has engaged the services of Swiss drone supplier RigiTech and Danish operator Holo, both of whom specialise in autonomous mobility solutions. RigiTech and Holo will both support the drone test flights.
In March, Singapore offshore vessel owner and operator Marco Polo Marine teamed up with compatriot autonomous drone startup F-drones to co-develop what it said are the world’s first large-scale, electric aerial delivery drones for offshore wind farms. The partnership will see both companies co-develop drones customised for deployment in the Asia Pacific, to send supplies and critical items to offshore wind installations.