The Future of Electronics in the Renewable Energy Industry

Written by Graeme Robertson

18 November 2022

The energy transition and the growth of offshore renewable energy such as wind and wave power is generating a huge increase in demand for offshore electronics that are robust enough to withstand the inhospitable offshore environment while delivering top level performance in these hazardous offshore sites. 

This is due in large part to the sustained increase in the development and use of robotics and sensing technology in the renewable offshore energy industry, and this is a trend that will continue to expand. For example, remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) are already being developed to respond to the commissioning of new green-tech offshore infrastructure - robotics such as these are of great value in inspecting the integrity, condition and maintenance requirements of offshore structures such as wind turbines.

The industry shift towards using robotics and sensing technology in the planning, development, inspection and maintenance of wind and wave farms, including subsea structures, has the potential to eliminate the risk of danger to personnel while increasing efficiencies for operators and reducing carbon emissions, supporting the drive towards net zero.

In the case of offshore wind farms, which by nature can be difficult to access, the use of this technology can be crucial. Sensor technology can be integrated in the process of monitoring performance, gathering inspection data and identifying wear and tear or system failure. By capturing reliable information that can then be used by operators to make real-time operational decisions, sensors can contribute to lowering running costs and avoiding unnecessary downtime of machinery, making efficiency the system’s best feature.

What is clear is that robust, high performance electronics will be central to the development of the sustainable offshore energy industry. It is essential that the electronics embedded within these technologies are built to stringent levels of compliance, tested to the highest standards and guaranteed to be intrinsically safe. Working with a local manufacturing solutions provider like CB Technology, with a proven record of expertise in building high compliance, high reliability assemblies, is one way to ensure electronics for offshore industrial use are truly up to the job.

At CB Technology we are experts in facing the challenges created by an offshore environment and our capabilities include ruggedisation such as hermetically sealed products capable of withstanding high pressures due to depth within the ocean, high and low temperatures, high vibration, and moisture ingression. Our products are made utilising potting and conformal coating to ensure they are compliant to the stringent specifications required to operate in these environments. We capitalise on our depth of expertise in test processes to ensure extended product reliability through active diagnostic burn-in and temperature cycling, ensuring repeatable and sustained performance.

CB Technology is perfectly placed to support customers in the developing offshore energy industry in Scotland and further afield through our depth of experience in developing electronics for use in monitoring, inspection and maintenance of industrial structures in the inhospitable and dangerous offshore environment. Through the development and manufacture of high performance sensing technology electronics, we are pleased to work hand-in-hand with those businesses developing advanced robotics and sensing technology solutions for the UK’s sustainable offshore energy sector as the industry looks to prioritise the safety of personnel, business and sector efficiency, and the move towards net zero.