New rechargeable underwater vehicles can complete weather-dependent tasks that are often hazardous for employees.
Modus Ltd has developed the world’s first autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) for offshore wind farms. The company is a specialist provider of autonomous marine equipment and systems based in County Durham, England. The machine is part of the project for ‘Autonomous Vehicles for the Inspection of offshore wind farm Subsea INfrastructure’ (AVISIoN). Funding for the project comes from a number of energy companies as well as the UK government.
Currently, offshore wind farm inspections involve diving crews and are therefore heavily dependent on local weather conditions. However, using the AUVs would remove the costs of waiting for a safe time to send teams out. Additionally, the ability to recharge the vehicles would help reduce the carbon footprint of maintaining a clean energy system. First of all, tests are taking place in saltwater docks in Northumberland. These initial tests will be followed by commercial trials at a farm off the coast of Wales.
Projects working to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of sustainable energy are many, varied and complex. For example, this hybrid nanomaterial that extracts hydrogen fuel from seawater. Another example is a paint that produces hydrogen gas from water vapor and sunlight, allowing building walls to act as a fuel source. What innovations could help adapt location-specific solutions for use in a broader range of environments and weather conditions?