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New deal signed for offshore wind innovators to continue driving forward solutions in real-world conditions

The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult and Vattenfall have signed a three-year extension on their testing and demonstration collaboration at Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm.

The partnership at the 96.8MW offshore wind test and demonstration facility first began in 2019. Since then, technologies which have the potential to address operation and maintenance challenges currently facing offshore wind farms have been tested at the site, such as blade repair, leading edge erosion, robotics, remote cable monitoring and remote and autonomous inspection. Now, more companies ready to test their technologies offshore will be supported by ORE Catapult and Vattenfall at the 11-turbine wind farm, 2.5km off the Aberdeen coast, until the end of 2026.

Hugh Riddell, Regional Partnership Manager at ORE Catapult, said: “Extending our collaboration with Vattenfall gives innovative UK companies a unique opportunity to deploy, test and demonstrate their technology in a real-world environment at Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm.

“The UK is internationally recognised for technological innovation, but there is a need to fast track the commercialisation of these technologies and boost supply chain opportunities in the years to come. De-risking their innovations on an operating offshore wind farm in the north east of Scotland, which is already home to so many innovative engineering companies, will help to accelerate routes to market, increase confidence for potential customers, and further support the growth of offshore wind as part of the race to Net Zero.”

Lisa Christie, UK Country Manager at Vattenfall said: “As a leading developer of offshore wind, the collaboration between Vattenfall and ORE Catapult at Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm is absolutely vital. We’re supporting technologies needed to promote a competitive offshore wind industry, strengthen the supply chain, and bring economic benefits to the UK.

“What we offer companies is a world class testing and demonstration facility. Technologies must meet the highest requirements – delivering increased safety in offshore wind operations, minimising impact on the environment, and reducing costs of renewable energy.

“We look forward to continued working with ORE Catapult to provide a test bed for exciting innovations that address the challenges facing offshore wind as we push toward net zero.”

Geo-data specialist Fugro completed the world’s first fully remote ROV inspection of an offshore wind farm at the Aberdeen site last year. Their uncrewed surface vessel (USV), Blue Essence® and electric remotely operated vehicle (eROV), Blue Volta® delivered an in-depth inspection, with the crew safely onshore. Real-time data was streamed via high band width VSAT connection to Fugro’s remote operations centre (ROC) in Aberdeen, improving safety and reducing carbon emissions by 95%. Since then, Fugro have expanded their USV fleet in Europe, completing multiple pipeline inspections and further windfarm asset integrity surveys.

Safety at sea pioneers Zelim tested their Swift Rescue Conveyor System which demonstrated it was 20 times faster at recovering people overboard offshore than any conventional systems, and Pegasus Welfare Solutions (PWS) constructed the world’s first in-turbine toilets that have been installed into all the wind farm’s turbines. PWS was acquired by OEG Offshore in 2021.

Faye McFarlane, Business Development Manager for Portable Welfare at OEG Renewables, said: “We are extremely proud to have installed the world’s first in tower toilets on each turbine at Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm. The welfare units were transferred via crew transfer vessel (CTV) to the turbine where they were then lifted and put into position by the on-site technicians. Installing these units has been an important step forward for acknowledging the importance of welfare and safety of personnel offshore.

“Having the option to use a toilet inside the turbine reduces the number of vessel transfers for comfort breaks which, in turn, also increases productivity as less time is wasted with multiple transfers. By allowing for personal privacy these in tower toilets help to increase diversity in offshore wind.”

Edinburgh based company, Cyberhawk conducted an automated drone blade inspection at the offshore wind farm.

Euan Baird, Utilities and Renewables Lead at Cyberhawk, said: Having a test site for companies to validate their technology in a real-life environment is vital for developing solutions supporting the journey towards net zero. ORE Catapult and Vattenfall coordinated a demonstration for Cyberhawk to fly Sulzer Schmid’s cutting-edge drone-based blade inspection technology at Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm. While we knew the technology was effective onshore, there are so many new variables and challenges in the offshore environment from the size of the turbines to the movement of the vessel, which are impossible to replicate in onshore testing.

“For Cyberhawk, having the facilities to get hands-on with the technology and validate its performance offshore was extremely valuable. Safety is our priority and having used the autonomous technology at Aberdeen, seeing it perform and validating the results, gave us the confidence we need to take it to market and offer these inspections to our customers. Together, Sulzer Schmid and Cyberhawk now offer efficient and reliable offshore wind turbine inspections in the UK offshore market.”

Nick Simmons, Director USV and Remote Working at Fugro stated: “This was a landmark moment for offshore operations and demonstrates how remote technologies are bringing significant benefits to the offshore wind industry. At Fugro it is important to us to create a safe and liveable world for future generations, our USVs are just one of many innovations we are leveraging to do this. Being able to test innovations like this at the Aberdeen Offshore Windfarm allows us to prove to the industry that the technology not only works but has the ability to completely transform offshore operations going forward, reducing carbon emissions and improving the safety and efficiency of operations, improving safety and efficiency of operations.”

Future projects at the wind farm will be looking at technology innovation in the areas of robotics and sustainable solutions.

Each year, Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm offsets an average 134,000 tonnes of CO2 and meets the power needs of 80,000 UK households.

Contact Information

Pamela Bailey

Notes to editors

Video link to short video: ORE Catapult & Vattenfall collaboration (short version)

and long video: ORE Catapult & Vattenfall collaboration (long version)

Image caption: Vattenfall’s Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm

Updated webpage on ORE Catapult website with contact details for booking demos etc:

ORE Catapult manages engagement with innovators in the offshore wind supply chain and educational institutions to promote test and demonstration opportunities and supports Vattenfall’s selection process and results.

Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm consists of 11 three-bladed horizontal-axis 8.8MW offshore wind turbine generators (WTG) each supported by suction bucket jacket foundations and high capacity 66kV power cables. When it was built, the wind farm’s Vestas wind turbines were the largest in the world.

Technology Demonstrations at Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm


Headquarters: The Netherlands

(Global company, UK headquarters Wallingford)

Completed the world’s first fully remote inspection of an offshore wind farm using one of their uncrewed surface vessels (USV), Blue Essence, with an electric remotely operated vehicle (eROV) at AOWF.

The eROV delivered in depth inspections on the wind turbine generator, a scour survey and a seabed grid survey, and data was accessed in real time.

The USV can spend up to two weeks executing ROV-based inspection activities at sea without refuelling and reduces carbon emissions by  95% compared to conventional support vessels.


Based: Edinburgh

Tested their Swift Rescue Conveyor System which significantly cuts the time taken to recover people who have fallen overboard.

They demonstrated that their system was 20 times faster in recovering people overboard offshore than conventional systems.

The system can be incorporated into the design of new crew transfer vessel or retrofitted for use in the offshore wind industry.

Pegasus Welfare Solutions (PWS)

Based: Great Yarmouth

Constructed the world’s first in-turbine toilet which has now been installed in each of the Wind Farm’s 11 turbines – boosting welfare, efficiency, and encouraging gender diversity in the offshore wind space.

PWS was acquired by OEG Offshore in 2021; it is now one of the OEG Renewables group of companies.


Based: Edinburgh / Switzerland

An automated drone blade inspection was conducted at the Wind Farm.

Based: Glasgow


Cable condition monitoring to provide earlier warning of failure.

Synaptec retrofitted passive fibre optic sensors to the Wind Farm to monitor and generate live data from each export cable’s termination points.

This data can help offshore wind operators safely maximise cable use, optimise their scheduled maintenance, and avoid costly cable failures through earlier detection of abnormal behaviour.

Miros Wave Radar

Based: Norway

A prototype wave radar and a fusion sensor (blend of prototype and existing technology) were installed at the Wind Farm.

The dual sensor, which is not impacted by adverse weather, measures directional wave spectra in all areas including shallow waters. The sensor collected data in real time next to the structure, and from areas further away using radar, enabling new levels of data performance and reliability.


Based: Aberdeen

Tested their Digital twin solution R2S at the Wind Farm.

R2S produces virtual walk-throughs of offshore installations embedded with data so technicians can visit sites remotely and access technical and operational data – improving safety, and saving time and costs.

R2S eliminates non-essential journeys to offshore wind farms and facilitates the training of teams before deployment.



Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm, supported by the EU with a €40m grant.

About Vattenfall

 Vattenfall is a leading European energy company, which for more than 100 years has electrified industries, supplied energy to people’s homes and modernised people’s way of living through innovation and collaboration. We work to enable the fossil freedom that drives society forward. We are committed to building a future where everyone can choose fossil free ways to move, make and live. Our goal is net zero emissions in our entire value chain by 2040 at the latest. We employ approximately 20,000 people, have around 14 million customers and operate mainly in Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and the UK. Vattenfall is fully owned by the Swedish state.

For more information: https://group.vattenfall.com/uk

For more information contact:

Pamela Bailey, PR Manager, 07771 206307, pamela.bailey@ore.catapult.org.uk

Peter Kocen, Press Officer, 07890 400 267, peter.kocen@vattenfall.com

About the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult

ORE Catapult is the UK’s leading innovation centre for offshore renewable energy, established in 2013 by the UK Government as part of a network of Catapults set up by Innovate UK in high growth industries.

Independent and trusted, with a unique combination of world leading test and demonstration facilities, engineering and research expertise, ORE Catapult convenes the sector, delivering applied research, accelerating technology development, reducing risk and cost, and enhancing UK-wide economic growth.

ORE Catapult operates in Glasgow, Blyth, Levenmouth, Aberdeen, the Humber, the East of England, the South West and Wales, and operates a collaborative research partnership in China.