A robot scarecrow has almost eliminated bird poo from an offshore wind substation.
Seabirds use offshore structures as handy rest sites, and consequently cover them with huge amounts of droppings — which are a health hazard for humans due to their carcinogenic properties, and can even cause expensive delays to offshore construction. Removing the so-called “guano” is said to be extremely costly and unpleasant to remove.
Which is why England-based company Scaretech Global came up with the idea of installing solar-powered robotic “scarecrows” dressed as offshore workers — which also emit loud noises and high-intensity strobe lights — to frighten birds away.
In a 12-month test of the maintenance-free technology at the Galloper wind farm’s substation in the UK North Sea, which ended in July, the amount of guano on the structure went from around 55% coverage to almost none.
“There is an abundance of seabass around our Galloper site, which attracts large numbers of seabirds. These in turn generate significant quantities of guano, which poses an unpleasant health and safety hazard for us,” said Kieron Drew, interim O&M manager at Galloper.
“Once we installed the Scaretech device, we saw dramatic reductions in the amount of guano. In fact, the problem is now almost non-existent.
“It’s been a fantastic asset and has saved us a considerable amount in clean-up costs and technician time.”
Scaretech’s Terry Christie, who came up with the idea for the technology, said: “We’ve taken the simple bird deterrent of a scarecrow — tested over hundreds of years — and updated it with the latest, state-of-the-art technology to enable it to withstand the extreme weather conditions offshore.
“Scaretech works beyond everyone’s expectations and we now plan to launch a low-cost monthly rental option to enable the offshore sector to benefit from this proven solution.”