Biofouling is the settlement and growth of organisms on submerged structures and is a major challenge for the MRE sector. The presence of biofouling can decrease the efficiency of energy generation and lead to corrosion which can reduce the survivability of technologies.
The 24-month RoBFMS (Robots to Inspect, Maintain and Repair in Extreme and Challenging Environments) project will develop an automated robotic system to monitor, identify and clean biofouling from subsea structures, building on the learning gained from the development of a prototype robot in phase 1.
The RoBFMS system will consist of a variety of sensors, navigation systems and camera equipment in order to monitor and detect fouling on submerged structures. RoBFMS will also be capable of identifying defects within technologies in environments where human intervention presents high safety and cost concerns.
The fully functional system will contain cleaning systems which will be able to remove biofouling through the deployment of a focused high-power ultrasonic cleaning technique.
This project was funded through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund under Innovate UK’s ‘Demonstrator for robotics and AI in extreme and challenging environments; phase 2’ competition. Project reference number 104826. Innovate UK is a part of UK Research and Innovation.
- Innovative Technology & Science Ltd (InnoTecUK) – project lead
- European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC)
- Brunel University London