University of Limerick Buys ROV for Renewables Research
The University of Limerick (UL) will deploy a brand new remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) to support its research into subsea inspection and intervention campaigns on renewable energy sector infrastructure.
The new underwater vehicle, a Comanche 2,000 meter observation class ROV designed and manufactured in-house at Forum Energy Technologies’ Kirkbymoorside Yorkshire facility, was officially launched at the docks in Limerick City by Minister of State for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen TD.
The Comanche ROV was selected due to its high thrust-to-drag ratio enabling it to operate in strong currents, typical conditions for the offshore renewables industry. The ROV is equipped to a high specification with precision positioning and navigation systems, camera and lighting systems and sonars. The systems will be used as a test bed for research to develop capabilities for inspection, maintenance and repair work on Marine Renewable Energy (MRE) infrastructure in the challenging strong wave and current conditions at MRE test-sites and offshore MRE sites in Ireland and further afield. The ROV system is home ported at Limerick Docks in the Republic of Ireland.
University of Limerick President, Dr. Des Fitzgerald, stated, “The advanced robotics technology developed at UL will be crucial in supporting the burgeoning marine renewable energy sector. It will also play a significant role in reducing the cost of installing and maintaining large-scale offshore energy generation infrastructure. As the worldwide marine renewable energy sector grows, UL’s research contribution in this area will have even greater impact.”
Researchers at UL’s Centre for Robotics and Intelligence Systems (CRIS) further enhanced the system with UL-developed advanced control software (OceanRings), precision navigation and flight control, state-of-the-art robotic imaging and sonar systems and fully automated manipulator systems.
The vehicle will be housed at Limerick Docks where experimentation, testing and demonstration will be carried out. It will also be mobilized on vessels at other ports in Ireland.
Kevin Taylor, Vice President for Subsea Vehicles at Forum, said, “We are very pleased to see the delivery and launch of Forum’s Comanche ROV which will support the University of Limerick’s renewables sector research team. The inspection and maintenance of subsea infrastructure is vitally important to the longevity and sustainability of subsea assets and this observation class ROV is a perfect fit for these types of projects.
“On a strategic level, our ties with global research organizations are proving very successful this year. They include vehicle sales to an academic institution in Russia to support its oceanography research work.”