Digital and robotic technologies for the energy sector in the North Sea

Digital and robotic technologies for the energy sector in the North Sea

Energy Reinvented Community, Development Company Noord-Holland Noord/Maritime Emerging Technologies Innovation Park Noord-Holland (METIP) and DroneQ Robotics launch collaboration.

To strengthen innovations in digitization and robotization for the offshore energy sector, Energy Reinvented Community (ERC), Ontwikkelingsbedrijf Noord-Holland Noord / Maritime Emerging Technologies Innovation Park Noord-Holland (METIP) and DroneQ Robotics launched their collaboration today. Through knowledge sharing and a cross-sectoral approach, the three parties want to stimulate innovations in the field of sensor technology, modeling tools and optimization strategies that can improve and renew the logistics chains for the oil, gas and wind sector in the North Sea. The ultimate goal is to reduce the C02 footprint of the offshore energy sector and to work more efficiently.

The launch took place during a jointly organized event of Energy Reinvented Community (ERC) and North Sea Offshore (NSO) on June 8 in Den Helder, with the theme Bringing offshore energy ashore. The first steps in cooperation taken in 2020, have now been formalized. The cooperation fits within the Regio Deal Maritime Cluster Kop van Noord-Holland.
Kees Visser, alderman in Den Helder: 'I'm pleased with this collaboration. The energy transition is a major task and good cooperation is essential to developments in the energy sector. This gives a new boost to further knowledge sharing and innovation development. And can connect all kinds of companies active in the offshore energy sector. It's great that together we can shape this with this kind of collaboration.'

Within ERC's platform, the Digital Energy working group aims to stimulate ideas, collaboration and cross-sector thinking in the field of digital technologies for the energy sector. The focus is on innovative technologies that can optimize production from existing oil and gas fields and can be used for extraction from new Innovative Intelligent Fields and Installations, also known as Smart Fields. In addition, the group looks at synergies and solutions for the offshore wind chain for the installation and further optimization of offshore wind farms. The working group is also looking at digital solutions for many new offshore applications, such as hydrogen wind turbines, clean intelligent ships and ports (Smart Ports), floating solar parks and wind turbines, energy islands, and offshore hydrogen production using wind turbines and existing and/or new offshore oil and gas platforms and natural gas infrastructure.

Jan Prins, board member of Energy Reinvented Community and chairman of the Digital Energy working group: "From the cross-sectoral perspective, a collaboration with METIP and DroneQ Robotics is obvious. We are interested in developments that can improve and renew processes in existing energy functions, such as wind, solar, oil, natural gas and the reuse of existing infrastructures, and make them applicable to new functions in the energy system, such as energy islands and energy storage, hydrogen production, hydro and tidal energy. Innovative monitoring, combining the various data streams, applying artificial intelligence, and developing modeling and
optimization tools such as the Smart App are essential for this. Only by innovating with the entire value chain we are able to work more efficiently and reduce our carbon footprint."

Smart, integral and sustainable solutions
On behalf of Ontwikkelingsbedrijf Noord-Holland Noord (ONHN), METIP is setting up a cluster where companies, entrepreneurs, startups, knowledge institutes and training institutions are working together with civil society organizations, citizens and government on innovations that can optimize the logistics chains of these sectors.
John Spee, METIP project manager: "We are delighted with this collaboration. Here in Den Helder we are working on smart solutions to make the logistics services at sea more sustainable and efficient, such as digitalization, drones, intelligent ships and new digital technologies. The advent of an integrated energy system at sea requires integral innovative solutions that can provide all the functions of that new system with the services they need. ERC's cross-sectoral view strengthens the integrated approach focused on offshore wind, hydrogen, solar farms, energy islands, oil and gas and the relevant maritime industry."

The deployment of drones is one of many elements that can optimize logistical support to offshore oil, gas and wind activities. However, the conditions in maritime environments with strong winds, salt fog and rapidly changing weather conditions put different demands on the deployment of equipment, operator and operational processes and procedures. In the cooperation with DroneQ Robotics, this could lead, for example, to the development of a special drone.
John Troch, Director of DroneQ Robotics: "As an operator of next-generation unmanned technology systems, in addition to innovative ROV underwater robot projects, we have set-up within METIP an extensive development and testing program for long-range cargo drones that can transport cargo to and from offshore installations such as production platforms, wind turbines and installation and maintenance vessels. This is just one of the many activities we intend to further test and develop with this approach, such as deployment in construction, services, maintenance, safety and inspections.”

The scale of shaping is a first in the development and application of maritime drone support for offshore energy activities. The process-oriented project approach of applying and adapting existing technologies to a specific demand, fits well in METIP partners' ecosystem and makes the collaboration between Energy Reinvented Community, METIP and DroneQ Robotics a unique one.
Author: Susan Kimkes
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