The Netherlands – A grant of 1.74 million euros has been given to SpectX, Avular Robotics, and Eindhoven University of Technology for the creation of a ground-breaking technology for the examination of internal damage in offshore wind turbines.
The “Renewable Energy Transition Programme” (HER+) of RVO provided funding to the consortium. SpectX took part in the Industry & Energy Summit’s Dragons’ Den of Transition in 2021.
With the help of the two partners, SpectX is creating an autonomous radiography system to find interior damage in wind turbine blades. To accomplish this, it sends out two drones that fly in unison and are outfitted with X-ray analysis tools. The consortium is now able to conduct a pilot with the technology off the North Sea coast close to Eemshaven because of the funding.
Drones and X-rays
The analysis system may result in increased maintenance productivity and more dependable operations for offshore wind farms. With conventional methods, internal damage to wind turbine blades cannot be accurately recognized. The turbines’ efficiency may suffer as a result of this damage, and their downtime may be prolonged. X-ray technologies and drone platforms are combined by SpectX and its partners to deliver a non-invasive, high-resolution scan of the turbine blades. This makes it possible to see concealed problems including delamination, cracks, and holes. Proactive maintenance can be done if this damage is discovered earlier.
Because there are numerous offshore wind operations in Eemshaven, the collaboration decided to conduct the pilot there. In the pilot, the parties will create specialized drones outfitted to conduct the checks and gather information on the turbine blade conditions while reducing the hazards to people. Up until now, inspections have been performed by maintenance personnel who are brought in from abroad and must operate at heights, which presents a further risk. Furthermore, due to radiation safety concerns, they are unable to only use X-rays.
According to SpectX, the creation of this inspection system further strengthens the North Sea’s status as a center for the development of renewable energy.