Marine vegetation is a challenge for offshore structures, given that it can permanently settle on such structures. This causes an increased load and material fatigue, primarily due to increased wave loads and weight. Furthermore, it complicates the inspections necessary to document the integrity of the material. These disadvantages are reduced by clearing away the vegetation regularly. Alternatively, the construction can be oversized in the design phase. This increases costs for production and operation — and by extension, for energy production. This project aims to develop a concept for marine vegetation inspection and control using the latest robot technology and automation, which will be far less harmful to the environment.
In addition, vegetation growth complicates offshore inspections, which are important for documenting the durability of platforms and foundations. These disadvantages are reduced by clearing away the vegetation at regular intervals. Alternatively, the construction can be oversized in the design phase, in order to overcome the loads from the marine vegetation. Both methods increase costs for production and operation of these structures — and by extension, for energy production.
Today, in the North Sea alone, the industry spends hundreds of millions annually to remove marine vegetation.
In this project, a number of partners are developing a specially designed underwater robot that can autonomously inspect and remove marine vegetation.
The technology can work independently of the large, environmentally damaging vessels which are used for cleaning tasks today. The robot can be put into operation directly from a wind turbine foundation or oil and gas platform, and it only requires support to be available while the task is being performed. It is expected that this concept will reduce the cost of cleanings by 30-40%.
ACOMAR — Auto Compact Marine Growth Remover. An intelligent underwater robot that can both inspect and clean a structure. It is automated, easy to transport offshore, and needs just 1–3 men to service it. In contrast, the current model requires 45–50 men.
Press clip about Marine Growth
PHASE 1: Conceptualisation
PHASE 2: Development and testing
PHASE 3: Demonstration and validation
PHASE 4: Commercialisation