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Argeo’s AUV robotics de-risks offshore wind projects

Argeo provides advanced survey and inspection services for offshore wind, de-risking projects and reducing fuel consumption by 99 per cent. “We want to transform ocean surveying and inspection by utilising our autonomous surface and underwater robotics solution,” says Thorbjørn Rekdal, Chief Technology Officer at Argeo.Published 14 Feb 2023 (updated 26 Feb 2024) · 3 min read
Unnmanned service vehicle on the ocean near wind turbines

At a glance

  • Survey, inspection and maintenance of offshore wind projects
  • Uses autonomous underwater and surface vehicles
  • De-risks projects, reduces environmental impact

USD 3.5 billion. This is the estimated cost for the first phase of installing 100 wind turbines. With this size of investment, nobody can afford to take chances. Yet the inherent risks of site selection, installation and ongoing maintenance are enormous.

“A host of questions needs answering prior to installations. Are there geological or manmade obstacles? What is below the seafloor? Is there a shipwreck in the area? After installation, was the work done properly? All these questions, and many more, require subsea surveying, sampling and testing,” explains Rekdal.

Robotics de-risk offshore wind

Argeo provides autonomous survey and inspection services for offshore wind projects. “We use a suite of vehicles, advanced robotics and digital solutions to provide insight from seabed mapping,” says Rekdal.

A hallmark of Argeo’s solution are uncrewed surface vehicles (USVs) and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), which are equipped with a multitude of sensors including Argeo’s proprietary electromagnetic systems. The decision-ready data is uploaded into Argeo’s advanced digital imaging platform where the data is accessible through a web browser and resides in the cloud. These identify project risks such as the presence of boulders, challenging conditions and unexploded ordinance (UXO).

Commonly provided services include geophysical and environmental surveys and pipeline and cable inspections and positioning. Subsea maintenance and repair using an ROV can also be incorporated in the scope of work.

Rekdal gives a typical example: “Take cables, for instance. Perhaps a passing trawler has moved or damaged a cable. Or shifting sand dunes have uncovered a cable. Whatever the situation, we can survey the area, identify the problem and repair the damage in situ.”

With all the relevant data for the installation uploaded into Argeo’s advanced digital platform, asset management is offered optimal inspection and maintenance planning for the full installation lifecycle.

With all the relevant data for the installation uploaded into Argeo’s advanced digital platform, asset management is offered optimal inspection and maintenance planning for the full installation lifecycle.

Argeo minimises environmental impact

Argeo’s uncrewed vehicles offer a myriad of advantages over conventional surface vessels. “By using small autonomous vehicles, we reduce fuel consumption by up to 99 per cent,” says Rekdal.

This is because more efficient missions with shorter duration and lower fuel consumption result in significantly less CO2 emissions. Moreover, the smaller, quieter AUVs and USVs cause less noise and disruption to marine life.

In addition to fuel savings, autonomous vehicles reduce costs by doing the job two to four times faster than surface vessels. They can also perform multiple tasks at the same time and be mobilised more quickly if a problem arises.

Another efficiency factor is the weather. “Since AUVs operate under water, they are not disturbed by bad weather to the same extent as large surface vessels,” states Rekdal.

Offshore wind market “highly lucrative”

Global offshore wind energy in 2021 had a record year for deployment with 17 398 MW of new projects commissioned. New deployments are expected to accelerate up to 2025 and beyond, driven primarily by the imperatives of energy transition and energy independence.

“The market for our services is highly lucrative. We can easily see over 20 offshore wind projects being added each year for the initial survey market alone. In addition, our services are eco-friendly, which gives us a competitive advantage in the renewables market,” says Rekdal.

Argeo has conducted operations around the world. “When it comes to offshore wind, the most interesting areas for us are Europe in general and North and South America,” he adds.

Argeo provides robotic and digital solutions for other ocean industries as well, including aquaculture.

ARGEO AS

ARGEO AS

Nye Vakås vei 14, 1395 HVALSTAD, Norway

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Elisabeth Andenæs

Marketing and Communications Manager

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