Projects of Smart Ocean Technologies SOT

SOT Microplastics – analysis tool for measuring microplastic concentrations in the sea

A first project deals with the analysis of plastic waste in the sea with the aim of efficiently gaining information on concentration and distribution - only then can the fight against ocean pollution be successful. The aim of the project is to develop an expandable technology platform that operates autonomously on underwater vehicles. This can be extended by different sensors and thus analyze organic and inorganic pollutants in seawater on the spot in the future.

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Smart Coatings – Structural health monitoring of maritime structures

© Fraunhofer IKTS

For operators of maritime structures, such as offshore wind turbines, the economic viability of their installations is a top priority. However, the offshore site means that regular maintenance work is associated with immense costs and high safety risks due to difficult accessibility and harsh conditions.

In the research group "Smart Ocean Technologies", scientists from different disciplines are therefore working on the development of a technology for Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) of maritime structures by means of a smart coating. The project focuses on the combination of SHM technology and corrosion protection.

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MiniLab – the agile underwater platform project

Due to various external influencing factors such as swell, wind, rain, lack of supports, waterproof cable connections, stable support structure, it is difficult to ensure stable framework conditions during measurements under water. For this purpose, a real laboratory is being developed, which is available for SOT-internal projects but also for tests with project partners or as a service for customers.

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Underwater Maintenance via Robot

The expansion of offshore wind energy worldwide is leading to an increased need for underwater maintenance and repair. Maintenance work is also required in coastal areas and in inland waters, for example on port facilities, docks, ships and dams. The accomplishment of this task with industrial divers is subject to natural limitations due to tidal currents, wave action and weather events. Each operation poses a risk to the life and limb of the divers. Technical solutions for the accomplishment of the tasks do not exist at present or the operators must accept high costs as well as complicated application procedures. The consortium of the Fraunhofer Institutes IGD, IGP, IKTS and IOSB is equipping a low-cost underwater vehicle with technology that enables a wide range of diverless underwater intervention tasks such as cleaning, repair and coating on offshore structures in an automated manner.

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Condition Monitoring of batteries

© Fraunhofer IGD

The biggest limitation is the battery degradation over a number of charge/discharge cycles, what can significantly reduce the battery lifetime, what in turn may cause serious effects for the user. Therefore, the monitoring of batteries is extremely crucial to provide safe and effective operation of batteries. SOT working group in the cooperation with Fraunhofer IKTS presents novel methods in the battery condition monitoring, targeted for underwater applications – ROVs, AOVs, underwater energy storage systems.

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