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Robotics in the energy sector value to hit £8.4bn by 2050

Offshore wind is expected to be a particular driver, as robotics offer a safe and effective alternative for O&M tasks in challenging areas.

Offshore wind is expected to be a particular driver, as robotics offer a safe and effective alternative for O&M tasks in challenging areas.

The global robotics market in the energy sector will be worth £8.4 billion by the middle of the century, according to new research from the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult.

Given the high growth forecasts, onshore and offshore wind is particularly expected to drive robotics development, with just this segment expected to be worth £1.3 billion by 2030, increasing to £3.5 billion by 2050.

As oil and gas production declines, the robotics market within that sector is expected to peak in 2030 at £5 billion, before falling to £3.3 billion by 2050.

Accelerating the development of robotics and autonomous systems will also work as an enabler of net zero, ORE Catapult argues. As windfarms are located in increasingly deep, remote areas with challenging waters as part of the UK’s target of a seven-fold increase in offshore wind by 2050, robotics will help mitigate risks by taking on tasks like pre-emptive maintenance.

The global wind O&M market is set to grow from £51 billion in 2030 to £120 billion in 2050, with robotics, alongside data and digital solutions, expected to take a sizeable share of that market.

There is a “remarkable opportunity for robotics and autonomous systems” in the global energy market said Gavin Smart, head of analysis and insights at ORE Catapult. “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.”

ORE Catapult continues to highlight the opportunity for the UK to add value to the supply chain, utilising its offshore wind, oil and gas experience.

The UK offshore wind O&M market for robotics alone is expected to double in size, but the export potential is set for a further increase of 410%, rising from £235 million in 2030 to £1.2 billion in 2050.

“Cutting-edge research and development into robotic technologies for offshore wind is already taking place, right here in the UK,” Smart added. “We are building a position as a pioneer and expert in this field, which opens up a multi-billion pound domestic and export market over the coming decades.”

ORE Catapult's report follows the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy announcing £65 million in funding for high-performance batteries and robotics in 2020.

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