Inverurie-based offshore robotics company, HonuWorx, is making progress on plans for a ‘revolutionary’ subsea ROV programme to support the growing offshore wind sector’.
Developed in collaboration with support from the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult and Innovate UK, Loggerhead is a multifaceted system providing a sustainable solution for subsea work that requires physical intervention, such as maintenance of offshore energy infrastructure.
HonuWorx plans to produce a scaled Loggerhead proof of concept by the end of this year.
The system features a control centre which connects users in different locations to the operation, and a submersible mothership that serves as a mobile power and communication hub for remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) – worker robots that will carry out the subsea work.
The system will deploy these subsea ROVs and data collected by the robots will be accessible from anywhere in the world.
ROVs are currently used offshore, however, they require large, crewed, diesel-powered vessels for transportation, Loggerhead offers customers the possibility of running “crewless operations.”
These pre-existing ROVs are subject to 21-day inspections that can cost up to £1.5m and emit more than 500 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
The Loggerhead project is building on HonuWorx’s previous work on the Ridley project, a submersible platform that can transport large robots and ROVs to offshore sites and release them directly under the water.
HonuWorx chief executive, Lee Wilson, said: “HonuWorx was founded to scale up the use of subsea robotics across the entire ocean economy.
“With decades of experience in subsea operations and maintenance, our team recognised that today’s models are heavily reliant on large support vessels that are no longer sustainable from a cost or environmental perspective.
“We need entirely new approaches to deploy underwater robots economically to enable growing sectors like offshore renewables attain cost parity.
“Multiple stakeholders can access the data during a Loggerhead operation at any given time – including pilots, the end client, the manufacturer – and this goes way beyond any concept currently available, as it doesn’t require a physical control room or onshore building to house a crew.
“Lowering the cost of subsea maintenance will have a large impact on the floating wind market, where we expect to see an exponential increase in subsea infrastructure, all requiring regular inspection.”
Technical director at Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, Dr Cristina Garcia Duffy, added: “To reach our net zero targets at sector level, we must seek to adopt new technologies and systems solutions that address all aspects of our operations.
“HonuWorx’s Loggerhead project provides a fantastic solution that has the potential to revolutionise the way ROVs are deployed whilst achieving a significant reduction in CO2 emissions for operations and maintenance activities.
“We are very excited to help bring this concept to life at ORE Catapult.”