ZJU’s Marine Life Cleaning Robot Makes Trial Success

2017-09-11

    In late August, HOME, a marine life cleaning robot developed by Zhejiang University, succeeded in its first trial operation in the Pinghu oil and gas field in the East China Sea. It is the first time that a specialized robot has been used to clean marine life on the jacket system of oil drills.

    Due to the tides, the surface of the steel pipeline is in constant contact with air and water, thus accelerating the proliferation and growth of such sea life as oysters and barnacles. This not only adds the weight of the drilling platform, but also increases its affected area, which poses a danger threat.

    To ensure safety, divers carry jetting tools underwater and remove sea life and rust on a regular basis at present. China National Offshore Oil Corporation has more than 200 offshore drilling platforms. On average, every platform should be cleaned every four years. The cleaning cost of every platform falls in somewhere between 1 million yuan and 2 million yuan. Therefore, the annual cleaning cost adds up to a staggering 100 million yuan.

    Commissioned by Shanghai Oilfield Construction Company affiliated with China National Offshore Oil Corporation, the HOME research team headed by Prof. Yang Canjun of Zhejiang University successfully develops HOME which is able to automatically clean marine life within 100 meters under the sea.    

       

 “This robot adopts a series of technology, such as cavitation jetting, pipe self-adaptation and visual navigation control. It is equipped with self-adaptive permanent magnetic modules which are able to adhere steadily to steel pipes and move across different steel pipes regardless of their diameters,” said Prof. Yang Chanjun.

    The trial operation demonstrates that this new type of robot improves the convenience and operability of offshore work and that it can replace divers completely in cleaning marine life. Some experts think that it can also be applied to other domains, including vessel and bridge cleaning. Because it is amphibious, it can also handle other aloft work on the drilling platform, such as painting and checking.