Offshore expansion boosts robotics and autonomous systems

The global robotics market in the energy sector will be worth £8.4bn by 2050, new research from the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult has found.

ORE Catapult supports many robotic technologies that have already shown promise for the offshore wind sector (Image: ORE Catapult)

ORE added that with high-growth forecasts, wind energy (onshore and offshore) is expected to open a new robotics frontier that will be valued at £1.3bn by 2030, increasing to £3.5bn by 2050. In oil and gas, declining production will see robotics peak at £5bn in 2030, before reducing to £3.3bn by 2050.

The UK is targeting a seven-fold increase in offshore wind capacity by 2050, which will require more operations and maintenance (O&M) activity. With windfarms set to be located in deeper, more remote, often challenging waters, securing safe access for humans presents an industry challenge that can be met by robotic systems.

ORE believes that accelerating and investing in the development of advanced RAS (robotics and autonomous systems) will mitigate this risk and means robots will handle not only routine maintenance tasks, but also improve pre-emptive maintenance, which will extend the life of components and turbines at sea.

BladeBUG completes successful offshore wind trials

ORE Catapult’s report highlights that the global wind O&M market (onshore and offshore) will grow from £51bn in 2030 to £120bn in 2050. While robotics will take a share of this, these technologies will also combine with data and digital solutions and other forms of O&M to increase that market share.

While the UK offshore wind O&M market for robotics is set to double in size, the export potential is set for growth of 410 per cent, increasing from £235m in 2030 to £1.2bn in 2050.

In a statement, Gavin Smart, head of Analysis & Insights at ORE Catapult, said: “The growth of the global energy market presents a remarkable opportunity for robotics and autonomous systems. This is not only the case in offshore renewables, a sector which continues to grow at pace, but also in oil and gas in the short to medium term.

“What is unique about the robotics market is the potential for cross-application technologies. It is likely that the solutions that will maximise performance, increase efficiency and improve safety will be adapted to work across multiple industries – inside and outside energy.

“As we continue to work towards achieving Net Zero, it is clear that robotics will play a key part. The opportunity this presents for the UK is significant – across the supply chain we can create jobs, upskill our energy workforce, build export potential and add value to our economy.”

ORE Catapult’s full research report can be found here: