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Drones from Esbjerg to the North Sea

How can a drone port and an airport help to enhance the green transition in the North Sea? This is a task that Port Esbjerg and Esbjerg Airport, among others, have taken on for the benefit of the entire EU. All parties involved in the project have just met for the first time in Esbjerg.


An underwater drone can inspect the foundations of a wind turbine or the cables running to the coast. A flying drone can inspect a turbine. A surface drone can use advanced cameras to produce detailed 3D maps of an area that may be used in the planning of a wind farm.

Going forward, both flying drones and underwater drones will play a growing role in the offshore wind industry, especially in relation to the installation, inspection and maintenance of offshore wind turbines.

Therefore, it makes sense to investigate how drones can support the green transition in the North Sea – and this is happening right now.

In April, eleven partners from Belgium, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Denmark began their collaboration to consider how the green transition in the North Sea may best be supported by drones – both at sea and in the air. The partners represent ports, airports, knowledge providers and drone suppliers.

“It’s incredibly exciting, and we’re looking forward to getting to grips with the issues,” says Susanne Kruse Sørensen, managing director of Esbjerg Airport. She emphasises that the eleven partners are ‘just getting their pencils sharpened’ in this four-year project, for which the EU has granted EUR 7.3 million.

This is the first time the EU has granted money to airports as part of its green solutions. The project has an open mandate and is attracting much attention.

A product of the Esbjerg Declaration

The name of the project is DIOL (Develop Innovative Offshore Logistics), and it is based on the Esbjerg Declaration. The goal is to develop a strong international logistics chain to support the EU’s targets of 65GW offshore wind by 2030 and 150GW by 2050, along with 20GW of green hydrogen production by 2030.

We are only limited by our imagination

The fact is that drones may be employed even more widely. If truth be told, we are only limited by our imagination in working out how drones can support the green transition. For example, they may also be used to monitor wildlife, such as birds and marine animals, to minimise the impact on the marine ecosystem. Drones may also be used to monitor construction activities to ensure everything is going according to plan and provide a bird’s eye view of the entire construction site, which can be useful for project managers.

The project will run until April 2027. Read full article here.

This article is shared by courtesy of Port of Esbjerg

For more articles about Port of Esbjerg, click here.


Narjiss Ghajour

Editor-in-Chief of Maritime Professionals
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