EnBW to explore use of drones in offshore wind transport

EnBW is testing the use of drones to service offshore wind farms. Image by EnBW. All Rights Reserved.

April 13 (Renewables Now) - Germany's EnBW Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg AG (ETR:EBK) is planning to test the use of logistics and passenger drones for servicing offshore wind turbines in an effort to cut the time and costs related to the transportation of technicians and their tools to sea.

The energy company will be partnering with the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) on the research project which should devise the framework conditions for drone operation in the wind farm environment. The aim is to fly technicians to offshore wind turbines by air taxi and transport their materials by cargo drones.

As part of the project, tests will be conducted with a DLR drone in an onshore wind farm while the operation in the offshore area will be examined in simulations.

The partners will seek to clarify issues related to the design of transport containers and drone landing platforms as well as the equipment necessary at wind farms to enable servicing through drones.

“We received only positive responses in our first discussions with drone experts. The use of drones can also add value and contribute to reduce costs. As flight paths are almost exclusively over uninhabited areas, we anticipate fewer restrictions than for Urban Air Mobility,” said EnBW's head of Offshore Operations, Michael Splett.

The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection.

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