Remote Presence for Offshore Wind Turbines
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There is currently a growing interest for building wind turbines offshore. This has resulted in increased focus, as well as research on offshore wind energy. Offshore wind energy is expensive, and operation and maintenance is expected contribute to as much as 25-30% of the total energy cost. In 2010, over 100 GW of offshore wind power capacity was planned in various stages across Europe, and in order to realize the planned offshore wind farms, reducing the cost is absolutely essential. If technology to reduce the operation and maintenance cost is developed, its contribution could render the offshore wind farms realizable in the near future. In this relation, applying remote presence onboard offshore wind turbines was investigated. Remote presence would allow an experienced technician to inspect an offshore wind turbine instantaneously utilizing his senses without even having to leave his office. A background investigation was performed in order to map out some of the requirements, and an overall prototype was proposed and developed. The prototype allowed real-time demonstrations of the remote inspection concept, where the operator was a remote location controlling the inspection robot. It served its duty throughout several demonstrations, and was successfully controlled from different locations in Norway, as well as from Germany.The overall prototype consisted of different hardware and software solutions; of them an operator interface, a supervisor controller and two inspection robots. The first inspection robot was a proof-of-concept prototype and the second an improved prototype. The proof-of-concept prototype was initiated by Fidje in his master thesis, and was further developed into successfully becoming a remote inspection demonstration tool. The second prototype was initiated in this master thesis where Fidje worked on the mechanics, and this thesis considered the electronics-, communication-, control- and software design. Being an improved version, it was a step towards becoming a ready-to-install pilot prototype.The work in this master thesis allowed Viktor Fidje to control an early stage of the first inspection robot prototype in his master thesis. Further, classified knowledge about the service routines and tasks performed during inspections of a wind turbine was found. The work in this thesis contributed to the article ''Extending Condition Monitoring of Offshore Wind Farms with Remote Inspection'' by Øyvind Netland and Amund Skavhaug. Additionally, the prototype was used extensively in demonstrations throughout the project period. A flaw in the ATNGW100 branch of the Linux source was found and corrected, allowing UART devices to send data to the AP7000 processor without adding external circuitry. everal had struggled with this problem, but no publicized answer were found. Finally, the prototypes was planned to be used in Øyvind Netland's experiments investigating the efficiency of remote presence versus real presence.The result of the work in this thesis provided a good basis for further development and research, aiming for the commercial market.