Applus+ has agreed with startup Alerion to offer advanced inspection solutions for the renewable energy market, particularly wind energy. Spanish newspaper El Mundo has echoed this iniciative as part of the Applus+ Ventures programme. The service developed uses autonomous drones designed with state-of-the-art technology to minimise infrastructure downtime during the inspection, helping improve the reliability and profitability of onshore and offshore wind farms.
Corporate venturing programmes are helping develop cutting-edge technological solutions by combining the innovative capacity of start-ups with the market access and financial power of large companies. Applus+, a leading Spanish multinational in the inspection, testing and certification sector, is leveraging its corporate venturing programme Applus+ Ventures for collaboration opportunities. These partnerships are focused on startups linked to energy transition, connectivity, electrification and disrupt ive technologies, such as artificial intelligence, data analytics, blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT) and robotics, among others.
Alerion was born within the ESA-BIC programme to transfer space navigation technology to drones. Thanks to its proprietary and patented 100% autonomous navigation technology, the drones are flown to inspect wind infrastructures by surveying wind turbines and ensuring their safety. They can capture all necessary information in just 10-15 minutes, ultimately reducing wind turbine downtime and maximising the quality of the data, which is collected automatically.
The drones are specifically designed for these inspections and are equipped with different technologies, such as high-definition cameras, and infrared or LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) equipment. The service as a whole is adaptable to the needs and requirements of each client and allows wind farm owners and operators to access all the information stored in the cloud in order to carry out improvement and maintenance tasks. Alerion has already performed more than 1,000 successful inspections of onshore and offshore wind farms in more than 14 countries, conducting annual recurring maintenance inspection campaigns as well as end-of-warranty surveys.
The drone service is just one example of the disruptive solutions that Applus+ Ventures is able to develop, combining cutting-edge technology with the international reach of large corporations, allowing key developments to spread across the globe and impact the industry on a large scale by offering technical, strategic and financial support and a solid reputation in ESG. By collaborating with enterprises with multidisciplinary profiles, such as technology companies, universities, startups and innovation centres, Applus+ can anticipate market demands and help create a more sustainable world, thanks to new technologies and business models.