Sunday, October 1, 2023
New Wave Media

June 7, 2023

Autonomous O&M Pilot Planned at Deutsche Bucht Offshore Wind Farm

This photograph was captured by the Autonomous Surveyor USV during harbour trials in the Netherlands in May 2023. Credit: Subsea Europe Services GmbH

This photograph was captured by the Autonomous Surveyor USV during harbour trials in the Netherlands in May 2023. Credit: Subsea Europe Services GmbH

Offshore wind farm owner Northland Power has selected Subsea Europe Services as its partner for a pilot project in Summer 2023 at the Deutsche Bucht Offshore Wind Farm that will place autonomous marine survey and underwater inspection at the heart of its Operations & Maintenance (O&M) programs.

The greenlight for the project, which starts this July, follows the successful harbor testing of Subsea Europe Services’ Autonomous Surveyor Uncrewed Surface Vessel (USV) and A.IKANBILIS Hovering Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (HAUV), which took place in May on the Albert Betz Service Operation Vessel (SOV) in Eemshaven, the Netherlands.

Northland Power will task Subsea Europe Services’ Autonomous Surveyor and A.IKANBILIS to deliver the complete offshore wind foundation survey and inspection scope. While the Autonomous Surveyor USV will conduct multibeam echosounder surveys to monitor the Inter-Array Cable routes and potential scouring at the foundations, the A.IKANBILIS HAUV will conduct general visual inspections of the foundations, from water level all the way down to the seabed. All survey and inspection work will be carried out with only minimal human involvement.

The Autonomous Surveyor and A.IKANBILIS ready for action during trials this May. (Photo: Subsea Europe Services GmbH)

Both autonomous platforms will remain resident at the wind farm for the duration of the pilot project, using the SOV for the safe and efficient launch, recovery and storage of the Autonomous Surveyor and A.IKANBILIS. The SOV will become the mothership and center of operations for autonomous survey and underwater inspection operations within a highly automated project workflow: from planning and execution to reporting and data delivery. This approach reduces the number of personnel and vessels required offshore, making the wind farm a safer, greener and even more efficient workplace.

“New technologies including autonomous platforms are integral to optimizing our O&M strategies,” said Jan Schmökel, Balance of Plant Engineer, Northland Power. “We’re impressed with the Subsea Europe Services autonomous vessel fleet and their expert team so far, and as a company dedicated to innovation in pursuit of safe and efficient marine operations, we can’t wait to see the difference they make at Deutsche Bucht during the forthcoming pilot project.”

The Autonomous Surveyor is easy to transport, store, launch and recover. (Photo: Subsea Europe Services GmbH)

“This project is a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate the power of True Autonomy when applied to both surface and underwater tasks at an operating wind farm,” said Sören Themann, CEO, Subsea Europe Services. “Our approach makes it possible to significantly reduce the number of personnel and vessels required on-site, which unlocks HSE, environmental and economic benefits while optimizing workflows for faster acquisition of higher quality data using fewer resources.”

Northland Power is 100% owner of Deutsche Bucht offshore wind farm, which is located 95 km west of Borkum in the German Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Deutsche Bucht has an operating capacity of 252 MW, meeting the annual energy needs of 300,000 people and reducing the annual CO2 emissions of Germany by 700,000 tons.

Launching the HAUV for underwater inspection trials. (Photo: Subsea Europe Services GmbH)

Efforts to map the world’s oceans are ramping up, with new and emerging technologies leading the way.
Read the Magazine Sponsored by

How to Choose the Best Inertial Solution for your Application and Accuracy Needs

Marine Technology Magazine Cover Jul 2023 -

Marine Technology Reporter is the world's largest audited subsea industry publication serving the offshore energy, subsea defense and scientific communities.

Marine Technology ENews subscription

Marine Technology ENews is the subsea industry's largest circulation and most authoritative ENews Service, delivered to your Email three times per week

Subscribe for MTR E-news