Bristol wind project receives £1.2mn award
The University of Bristol has partnered with Perceptual Robotics, founded by graduates from the university, on a wind energy project.
The project has been granted £1.2mn from Innovative Energy UK’s flagship programme on robotics and artificial intelligence within extreme environments, which is part of the UK government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.
The project aims to develop a surface inspection system for offshore wind turbines by using drones.
Due to the rise in wind farms across the globe, it is also very important to increase maintenance systems, and making them less expensive as well as labour-intensive and dangerous.
The outcome of the project will see an automated inspection system based on cameras within drones, with the University’s Visual Information Lab producing advanced 3D tracking techniques.
“This award will make a significance difference to our development plans by allowing us to expand our systems into offshore operation and using the expertise in state-of-the-art tracking provided by the University team,” reported Kostas Karachalios, Project Manager at Perceptual Robotics.
Perceptual Robotics, who are based at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, are also part of the consortium with ASV Global and VulcanUAV.
“Robotics is a fast-moving area, with new advances happening every day. If robotics is to benefit industry, then knowledge transfer through close collaboration between companies and universities is essential,” stated Dr Andrew Calway, from the Department of Computer Science.
“This type of partnership also focuses our research activities on challenging real-world problems, which benefits us and the company. It is great to see a company, started by University graduates, working in such a worthwhile area as renewable energy.”
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.