One of the reasons offshore wind is about 3 times more expensive than onshore wind turbines is the maintenance cost. Nowadays, people have to go on a boat, travel to the offshore wind farm, and inspect the turbines manually. People have to hoist down from the turbine with ropes which makes these interventions dangerous and very expensive. That is why we will investigate if it is possible to automate these inspections using drones and hyperspectral cameras. These cameras can ‘see’ the chemical information of an object. Based on that chemical fingerprint, we have more information than we would have using normal RGB cameras. As seen in the pictures on the right. In the visual spectrum (what our eyes can see) we see hardly any difference between the different corrosion products. But when we use hyperspectral cameras, we can identify the different corrosion processes that are occurring.
In a second step, we will apply these techniques and cameras to the inspection of coating on the wind turbines and thus get an overall image of the health of the turbine. As the last stage, these technologies will be transferred from the lab to the field.