Consortium to Deploy up to $47 Million to Advance Offshore Energy Tech

A consortium of five universities, working with 31 industrial and innovation partners, will deploy up to $47 million (GBP 36 million) of support to advance robotics and artificial intelligence technologies for the inspection, repair, maintenance and certification of offshore energy platforms and assets.

The Edinburgh Centre for Robotics, a partnership between Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh, will lead the consortium, which includes Imperial College London, the University of Oxford and the University of Liverpool.

The five institutions will work collaboratively under the title of the ‘Offshore Robotics for Certification of Assets’, or ‘ORCA Hub’, to develop robotics and AI technologies for use in extreme and unpredictable environments.

“The international offshore energy industry faces many challenges, including near-permanent low oil prices, expensive decommissioning commitments of old infrastructure, particularly in the North Sea, and small margins on the traded commodity price per KWh of offshore renewable energy,” said professor David Lane from Heriot-Watt University, the director of the ORCA Hub.

“Coupled to this, the offshore workforce is aging as the new generation of qualified graduates seek less hazardous onshore opportunities,” he added.

Lane said the goal of the group is to develop shore-operated autonomous and semi-autonomous solutions for inspection, maintenance and decommissioning of offshore energy infrastructure using marine, terrestrial and airborne robotic systems.


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