This guide is for Energy service professionals who wish to use unmanned aerial drones to monitor the quality of their Wind Turbines, Oil Rigs, Solar Panels, Power Lines and Nuclear. This will cover the basics of using a drone in Energy Sector. If you're looking to fly your own multi-rotor Energy drone or you're planning on hiring a third party company, we can help with that and give you all the tips you need. If you have any questions don't hesitate to contact us
Thermal cameras will offer many advantages for rooftop solar panel inspectors and operators of massive solar farms. In addition to being able to clearly view temperature anomalies on a crisp thermal image, the DJI Zenmuse XT can be used to scan installed solar panels during a normal operation across large areas within a short time frame. This helps scope out the solar panels with issues then isolate them quickly, ready for remedial action, keeping energy production at optimum levels.
Solar panels can also be inspected with the Yuneec H520 using the CGOET, this is a cheaper alternative to the DJI Zenmuse XT. DJI's Inspire series allows you to use the X3 or X5 cameras which will provide you with the right tools to inspect solar energy plants getting a clear array of panels at speed. Rather than sending out inspectors to check every panel which can be very costly, a flight overhead using a 4K system will provide you with the image clarity you need to carry out inspections. You can then cut down costs by only sending inspectors to the required problem areas only, significantly increasing their efficiency and productivity.
One of the biggest challenges in maintenance inspections are Wind turbines. Current methods involve hoisting staff to heights that present significant health and safety risks. As a result, each inspection requires extensive downtime and meticulous planning before it can be carried out, reducing the overall efficiency of energy generation. Conducting wind turbine inspections via UAVs is a significant improvement over existing methods. A UAV is able to fly precisely and accurately in up close and personal to the turbine, taking away the need to put people at risk. Advanced Sense and avoid technologies found on the DJI Phantom 4 and the Matrice 100 ensure that a sudden gust of wind or pilot error will not result in a collision.
DJI’s Micro Four Thirds Zenmuse X5 series cameras, compatible with the DJI Inspire series and the DJI Matrice 100 produce high-resolution imagery, 16-megapixel photos and 4K video, ideal for identifying fissures, cracks, or other indicators of structural stresses that may require repair. As all the data is stored on-board, it can be reviewed either at the point of inspection or back at the office. These innovations allow inspection teams to increase their overall efficiency while reducing facility downtime.
Efficiency and safety are primary to modern energy refining facilities and inspections are crucial to maintaining operations. Traditional inspection methods have always been challenging as facilities can cover large areas with complex structural layouts. UAVs allow for even the largest facilities to be inspected quickly from the air. The DJI Phantom series will provide an easy, birds eye view for surveying as well as close proximity inspections.
Operations that will need more demand can reply on DJI's wide range of products including Zenmuse XT imaging sensor, the Zenmuse X5 with its large Micro Four Thirds sensor, and high-efficiency platforms such as the Inspire and Matrice offer extended flight times of up to 30 minutes. However and whichever technologies are applied, these systems allow teams to quickly identify structural weaknesses, scan for hot spots, identify gas leaks and much more, empowering them to make decisions quickly and move more efficiently to remedial actions.
Power lines spanning long distances are the main veins of the modern power grid system. They present unique maintenance challenges due to their geographical dispersion, as well as their height. Traditionally inspected by helicopter-based methods, they can be more easily and efficiently inspected by using inspection teams equipped with a DJI Inspire Pro, with the combination of the DJI Zenmuse X5 Micro Four Thirds camera. This combination is able to be aerial inspections as soon as it arrives on site. Capable of capturing the high-quality detailed images and videos that are more than good enough for fine post-inspection analysis while the live feed will allow operators to see significant problems as they fly.
If you require more detail, a heavy lift inspection rig, like the DJI Matrice 600 series can be combined with the DJI Ronin MX gimbal to allow inspection teams the capability to deploy large sensor cameras needed for more specific set of work. Powered by the new A3 flight controller, it can be upgraded with DJI’s D-RTK GNSS system for centimeter-level hovering accuracy. Two additional satellite and IMU systems can also be added, creating a total of six layers of redundancy to ensure it flies with absolute reliability at all times. Its support of DJI’s SDK allows it to be customized to simplify inspection, from standardized flight patterns to fully autonomous flight, and a base station can also be used to allow the control of up to 5 aircraft simultaneously to make inspecting different line segments simultaneously possible.
Nuclear power is one of the most efficient energy sources available today. However, nuclear facilities as you can tell have to be managed with stringent operational standards to ensure the safety of everyone in the surrounding areas. Nuclear materials also present serious safety risks to inspection staff, strengthening the case for remote solutions. Using UAVs for inspections in typical situations allows the work to be carried out more with more structure and safety compared to traditional methods.
The DJI Inspire when equipped with DJI's Zenmuse XT thermal camera makes the perfect ready to fly thermography solution to detect potential leaks or structural stresses not visible to the naked eye. The Inspire can be flown with DJI's high resolution micro four-thirds Zenmuse X5 cameras to create a more flexible platform that meets the varied needs of different inspection teams and scenarios. Reducing downtime and increasing safety as drones can be subjected to higher radiation levels without the risk to personnel.