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INESC TEC leads the first European centre to test robots at offshore wind farms.

The first European centre for the real-time testing of marine robots is led by INESC TEC. The Atlantis Teste Center will be set up in Viana do Castelo and enable the validation of robotic solutions in the most extreme weather conditions of the Atlantic Ocean, namely concerning the assessment and maintenance of offshore wind infrastructures.

21st January 2020

Offshore wind energy is vital to decrease the dependence on fossil fuels and decarbonise society. The installed capacity in Europe is expected to triple over the next decade, thanks to new enterprises, the expansion of wind farms and the development of new technologies. Portugal will significantly contribute to the development of this field by setting up and operating the first floating offshore wind farm off continental Europe, which includes the world's largest turbine based on a floating platform, the WindFloat Atlantic.

The Atlantis project - The Atlantic Testing Platform for Maritime Robotics: New Frontiers for Inspection and Maintenance of Offshore Energy Infrastructures is led by INESC TEC, through the Centre for Robotics and Autonomous Systems (CRAS). With the involvement of EDP and the support from various technology and academic partners, the project aims to promote the development of technologies for the monitoring and maintenance of offshore wind infrastructures. The project will launch a ground-breaking platform in Europe, aimed at demonstrating the robotic technology and solutions that are vital to assess and maintain offshore wind farms around the world.

The Atlantis will focus on the assessment, maintenance and repairing of offshore wind infrastructures, and several autonomous robots (underwater, surface and air) will be developed and tested in various industrial scenarios, like the assessment of mooring lines, the monitoring of underwater structures or the cleaning of turbines.

The use of robotic solutions in the sector aims to mitigate risks and reduce the costs of operating and maintaining offshore wind farms – namely those located in deep water – while contributing to the reduction of the Levelized Cost of Energy.

Mares- Pisces

The technology will be validated and demonstrated at the WindFloat Atlantic

As part of the project, the centre will use the WindFloat Atlantic to validate and demonstrate robotic applications developed by research centres or technology companies, members of the consortium that can contribute to the sustainability of the sector. The TEC4SEA Research Infrastructure project, also coordinated by INESC TEC, will be crucial to support the outlined operational activities of ATLANTIS.

EDP, via the NEW Centre for New Energy Technologies and in close collaboration with Principle Power (WindFloat technology), will lead the offshore demonstration component, while investing in the project as a way to increase the competitiveness of floating offshore wind energy technology.

“The WindFloat, namely WindFloat Atlantic, is a giant step towards creating new markets for renewable energy, particularly for the wind energy sector. The Atlantis project is crucial for the company, since we are investing in one of the central vectors that will decisively contribute to increase the competitiveness of floating offshore wind energy: innovative operation and maintenance, thus creating new and practical options for decarbonising the energy system and society”, says João Maciel, director of R&D at EDP.

A €8.5M project with 8 partners from 5 countries

The project, with an expected duration of three years, required a total investment of €8.5M, provided by the H2020 - Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, under the agreement number 871571.

In addition to INESC TEC and EDP NEW Centre for New Energy Technologies (Portugal), the consortium includes eight partners from five countries: Teknologian Tutkimuskeskus VTT and ABB OY (Finland), Principle Power France and ECA Robotics (France), Space Application Services NV (Belgium), IQUA Robotics and Universitat de Girona (Spain) and RINA Consulting SPA (Italy).