Home » Ørsted trials world-first drone cargo delivery to UK windfarms

Ørsted trials world-first drone cargo delivery to UK windfarms

by Mark Cantrell
Orsted has claimed a world first by using large autonomous drones to deliver cargo to its UK offshore windfarms

Ørsted says it has become the first offshore wind company in the world to use autonomous giant drones to transport cargo to turbines.

Building on previous experience gained using smaller drones in other countries, the company is now trialling the 58kg drones, with a wingspan of 2.6 metres to transport cargo of up to 68kg, in the UK.

To put that into some kind of perspective, the size of the drone is said to be the equivalent weight of a large baby giraffe, with the wingspan of an albatross.

Mikkel Haugaard Windolf, who is heading the project for Ørsted’s offshore logistics team, said: “At Ørsted we want to use our industry leading position to help push forward innovations that reduce costs and maximise efficiency and safety in the offshore wind sector.

“Drone cargo delivery is an important step in that direction. We believe the UK can be the first country to commercialise this system in offshore wind farms, acting as global leaders.”

The use of these drones to deliver cargo to Ørsted’s Hornsea 1 windfarm will reduce costs and time, as well as improve operational safety and efficiency, the company says.

Drones mean less work disturbance as turbines don’t have to be shut down when cargo is delivered. They avoid risk, making it safer for personnel working on the wind farm, and minimise the need for multiple journeys by ship, reducing carbon emissions and climate change impacts.

Instead, the drones will be operated from existing crew transfer vessels (CTVs) and Service Operating Vessels (SOVs), which are already on site.

Ørsted has used smaller drones for some time with much lighter loads, and claims it is now leading the industry in deployment on a larger scale. The company says it is actively seeking partnerships with the “best drone cargo operators” and services providers to help grow the supply chain in the UK.

Image credit: Ørsted/Richard McCrilley

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