IKM Technology has developed modern and energy efficient ROV solutions and was the first company to commercially introduce electrical propulsion, onshore control room, and the possibility of storing the ROV subsea when it is not in use (resident technology). These are all solutions that increase the availability of the equipment and reduce the energy consumption of ROV operations.
We are now ready to continue this innovative drive by developing and validating a completely new ROV vessel with modern technology that makes it possible to reduce both the environmental footprint and the operational cost of subsea activities. The new vessel will satisfy Equinor?s specifications for Unmanned Intervention Drone (UID). It can be operated in two ways; teleoperated (by wire) and autonomously (wireless) and it will feature a manipulator for valve operations and other mechanical work. Furthermore, it will also feature a suite of sensors for inspections, condition monitoring, and environmental measurements.
The new vessel will be able to autonomously transfer between different locations to service several subsea assets without requiring the support of a surface vessel. This functionality will both significantly reduce the pollution of subsea operations and increase the flexibility, availability, and utilization of the new ROV.
ROV operations today usually require a dedicated surface ship for support and daily maintenance. Removing the surface ship will reduce CO2 emissions by the ship’s daily emission, estimated to be 7000 tons per ROV. This corresponds to the annual emissions of 15 passenger vehicles, per day of subsea operation. It will also reduce the daily operational expenditure, typically from 500 000 NOK to 50 000 NOK, since less hardware (i.e., surface ship) and less manpower will be tied up by the operation.
Introducing autonomy can further extend the cost savings to the ROV, reducing the number of persons involved in the operations and enable one vehicle to service a wide area. The ROV can then run scheduled automatic inspections and respond in predetermined and predictable ways to events happening in the area. It can also be programmed to transition from one subsea asset the next, performing the necessary operations for multiple sites still without requiring the surface ship.
New ROV technology will be a world-first combination of all the following characteristics:
- Subsea-resident and powered by batteries to eliminate the need for a surface ship, drastically reducing CO2 emissions and operational expenditure. Today’s ROVs are supported by dedicated support ships and powered directly and continuously by their diesel-generated power.
- A vehicle design that is hydrodynamically optimized for minimal power consumption
- Designed for fully autonomous missions
- A new realistic ROV simulator is required that enables rapid virtual prototyping
Current ROV technology is insufficient because
- They are not designed to be powered by batteries nor for long transists between sites
- Waste a significant amount of energy. This increase the environmental footprint and prevents battery-powered wireless operations.
- The simulator lacks fidelity and sensor feedback for realistic virtual testing