Offshore-energy robotics test centre opens in Blyth

·2 min read
The DARE centre in Blyth
The centre will test innovative products for use the offshore renewable energy industry

A test centre for robotic products intended for use in the offshore renewable energy market has opened.

The Digital, Autonomous and Robotics Engineering Centre (DARE), in Blyth, is the first of its kind in the UK.

It will help developers and researchers trial products including underwater vehicles, robots or drones.

The government says technology tested at the £3m centre in Northumberland, which it has funded, will help triple offshore wind capacity over a decade.

Graham Stuart, minister for energy security and net zero, said advances in robotics "can reinforce the UK's position as the world leader in offshore wind, make us even more competitive and keep turbines turning".

He said the new centre "will increase the safety and productivity of our highly skilled offshore wind technicians, lower costs and contribute both to lower consumer bills and energy security".

'Real world testing'

A robotics assembly bay, airborne robotics test zone, control rooms and three dry docks make up the DARE centre.

It is the latest part of the National Renewable Energy Centre, also in Blyth, which was set up to deliver the UK's net zero targets by accelerating the growth of offshore energy companies.

Three companies, Enshore Subsea, BeeX, and Aspira Aerial Applications, have said they will test their products at DARE.

Aspira is developing a specialist turbine-blade spray coating, that will be applied via drones, to remove salt build up and improving the turbine's efficiency.

It said the centre would be "pivotal" for providing opportunities to "perform real world testing" of "bespoke drones".

Helen Golightly, chief executive of the North East LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership), which will manage DARE, said it would help the region "unlock the economic opportunities provided by net zero".

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