ECA developing power plant UAV service
ECA Group is working on a new UAS service for hydroelectric power plants to provide aerial monitoring of infrastructure including penstock pipes to detect leaks, the company announced on 29 August.
The service is initially being implemented for an unnamed customer using the IT180 UAS.
The UAS will carry a range of payloads to detect damage to penstock pipes and potential leaks. The pipes can run for 1,000+km in some sections, through very steep terrain where inspection from the ground is difficult and time consuming.
Pipes are typically damaged along their top half by lightning strikes or rock slides. ECA is working on developments to allow surveys to cover the majority of the pipe circumference, to allow UAS to inspect between 180 to 270 degrees of the pipe circumference from the air.
The aim of the service is to allow utility managers dealing with those structures to take safe and optimum decisions during the repair and maintenance season, by precisely selecting and minimising the ground work that inevitably has to be done on the structure itself, on a regular basis, to ensure full capacity operation of pipes and dams all year round.
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