Offshore wind developer Equinor and US-based start-up Autonomous Marine Systems (AMS) have launched an autonomous platform they believe can significantly reduce the cost of obtaining survey data for offshore wind projects
After several years of testing, the Datamaran platform is ready for commercial deployment as an autonomous platform for wind resource assessment.
The 5-m long wind and solar-powered Datamaran carries a light detection and ranging (LiDar) system to collect data on wind and weather conditions in lease areas.
In addition, standard interfaces enable it to carry a flexible payload and undertake a range of surveys, including metocean, bathymetric, hydrographic, and obtain data on current and waves.
It operates autonomously without a manned support vessel and continuously transmits data and vessel health status to shore via fault-tolerant communication channels. The vessel is propelled by a rigid wing sail; the LiDAR, navigation and communication systems are powered by deck- and sail-mounted solar panels and batteries.
Over the last 18 months, Equinor and AMS have conducted studies and built prototypes to test the system. These have shown dramatic improvements in lead time, cost and areal coverage compared to existing options.
Equinor Wind US president Christer Af Geijerstam said, “Equinor’s collaboration with AMS underscores our commitment to collaborate with, invest in, and support local business. The emergence of the US offshore wind energy industry presents an exciting opportunity for innovative companies to partner with established windfarm developers.”
AMS was established in 2013 and is based at Greentown Labs in Somerville, Massachusetts.