Innovo secures Energy Technology Partnership funding with Strathclyde University to support drone vessel development

Innovo-designed innovative drone vessel secures ETP funding for R&D project with Strathclyde University, Glasgow, UK.

Scotland-based Innovo Engineering and Construction has secured £10,000 funding from the Energy Technology Partnership (ETP) in conjunction with Strathclyde University, Glasgow, UK. The funding will support a research and development (R&D) project for Innovo’s innovative autonomous eco-robotic wind, solar and hydrogen fuel cell powered surface vessel – Oceandrone.

Oceandrone is the latest in Innovo’s line up of innovative products, being a fully autonomous, zero-emission sailing craft that is uniquely capable of operating in unlimited sea-state parameters.

Designed by Innovo’s team of engineers and naval architects, Oceandrone uses a combination of wind, solar and hydrogen power and incorporates a patented sail management and unique propulsion systems. It aims to reduce CO2 emissions from operations in offshore industries including offshore energy, renewables, ocean sciences, marine environmental protection and military. Other potential markets for Oceandrone include telecoms, subsea data storage, ocean research, fish farming, seabed mineral exploration, carbon capture, hydrogen generation, and ocean sciences. Innovo's payload design for Oceandrone will enable the vessel to be configured to suit individual applications and fit any tailor-made requirements of the final user of the autonomous vessel.

Strathclyde University’s Power Networks Demonstration Centre (PNDC) which plays a key role in accelerating emerging technologies towards commercial deployment in a realistic, controllable environment is hosting the ETP funded R&D project for Oceandrone. The project aims to optimise the power management system of the autonomous vessel for all weather conditions and locations to satisfy the power requirements of all its devices including control and navigation, and electrical propulsion in the case of no wind. Such power optimisation would be achieved by managing all the renewable energy sources on board (solar panel, hydro generator, hydrogen fuel cell and storage battery) to achieve the maximum possible endurance using only clean energy.

Brian Cross, Project Manager at ETP, explained why Innovo’s Oceandrone project attracted support from the Scottish research organisation: “At our very first meeting with Innovo we knew we were dealing with a highly innovative Scottish SME that needed some additional technical expertise to take their product forward. We were able to connect them to Dr Mazheruddin Sayed, BTech, MSc, PhD, CEng, MIET, MIEEE at the Institute for Energy & Environment, University of Strathclyde, and the project has been a complete success, proving once again, that knowledge exchange between Scotland’s SMEs and our university researchers can be a game-changer in low carbon energy product development”.

Commenting on the post-project plans for Oceandrone, Business Development Director at Innovo, Garry Millard, said: “Innovo is committed to developing an autonomous, eco-robotic wind, solar-cell and hydrogen fuel-cell sailing craft that will revolutionise unmanned autonomous surface vehicles. Innovo's innovation will help the Scottish government reach its goal of net zero carbon by 2045 by relacing marine survey support vessels working within the renewable energy sector and supporting a reduction in travel, thereby reducing CO2 emissions.

“This R&D project with Strathclyde University moves us closer to our objectives of creating 15 Scottish jobs, generating £10 million in annual revenue, spending an additional £3 million on R&D and achieving an export value of £20 million by 2025.”