ABB’s Software for Project Aimed at Reducing Offshore Wind Farm Inspection Costs


 ABB Marine & Ports has been selected as a technology partner for an EU project exploring the use of remote inspection and maintenance techniques for offshore wind farms. 

With funding from the biggest EU research and innovation program Horizon 2020, the project, named Atlantis, is targeting a more efficient, cost-effective and sustainable offshore ecosystem. The project results will be made available under the EU’s  Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS).

With the current technology base, O&M costs can account for up to 30 % of the total cost of energy for offshore wind power. Atlantis project is thus envisioned to come up with solutions and technologies to drive a substantial contribution to cost reduction.

As part of the project, ABB is supplying a new module of the ABB  Ability Marine Advisory System – OCTOPUS optimization software. 

According to ABB, the software has been enhanced to allow onshore operators to plan a vessel mission from port to wind farm in the most optimal way, backed by data-driven decisions. 

"This will enable improved efficiencies by cutting the transfer times between land and wind farms, as well as by reducing the vessel waiting time and working time on-site," ABB said.

"Atlantis is a unique project that promises to unlock new potential in the operation of offshore wind farms – the fastest-growing segment of the offshore industry,” said Dr. Andry Maykol Pinto, Project  Coordinator, Atlantis.

“Research projects like Atlantis are crucial to this industry’s ongoing development, and solutions like OCTOPUS allow stakeholders to leverage the benefits on an increasingly electric, digital and connected marine environment. Together, we will help the  offshore wind market to cut costs while enhancing efficiency,  sustainability, and safety in inspection and maintenance operations.”

In addition to planning missions from port to wind farm, the new module of the ABB software will be taking into consideration the operational limitations of the ship and personnel, as well as assess deployment opportunities for remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs), unmanned surface vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles.

"OCTOPUS is about turning data into actionable insights to support decision making at sea,” said Antto Shemeikka, Vice President Digital  Services, ABB Marine & Ports. “The new module is an industry first as it allows the user ashore to plan offshore operations according to the performance of the vessel, crew, and equipment in the conditions they face. This is a significant step forward for remote decision making: in adverse weather or rough seas, a mission or an ROV launch could be aborted to save a wasted deployment or worse. There are clear benefits  for safety as well as efficiency.”

The Atlantis research project is being staged at two monitoring testbeds in the Atlantic Ocean – one off the coast of Viana do Castelo,  Portugal, and the other further out to sea. By better understanding how vessels and robots behave, researchers will identify opportunities to improve inspection and maintenance procedures.

ABB said that while the latest addition to the OCTOPUS suite was developed with  Atlantis in mind, its potential applications extend beyond the offshore wind industry. 

"ABB’s vision is to develop this module as a tool to serve multiple sectors – such as planning short routes for passenger ships or supply operations for rigs and floating offshore units. In addition, if a vessel of any kind is caught in unfavorable conditions, OCTOPUS would be able to determine a smoother, safer course," ABB said.

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