Fri, 09 April, 2021
With a population of over 100 million and 15 large dams in operation, the Philippines has been promoting renewable energy targets, with hydropower being seen as an untapped resource for power generation in the country.
Hydropower delivered just 4% of the energy supply of the Philippines in 2015, but the potential growth of hydropower to include 18 large hydropower sites and over 800 mini- and micro- hydropower schemes demonstrates a growing need for effective inspection. GPR enabled drones could help meet this demand, in both the Philippines and elsewhere, but dam inspection is not the only potential application for this technology.
Markets for GPR Dam Drone are expected to grow globally over the next five years as governments seek to maintain utilities and extend the life of ageing infrastructure. While there are some potential competitors for the GPR Dam Drones Project, very few of these are integrating GPR and drones, with the majority of suppliers offering cameras or sensors for mapping or inspection.
Where this is being investigated, there are other avenues for the use of this technology, including for pipeline detection, bathymetry of fresh water, geological surveys, mapping of underground infrastructure, and gathering data in difficult environments such as snowfields.
Indeed, GPR Dam Drone technology could find ready use in any condition monitoring situation that could be potentially dangerous for human operators. These might include railway embankments, canal infrastructure, nuclear power plants, and highway embankments and tunnels. GPR technology can also be used for general geological surveys, archaeological investigation, or landmine detection.
With regards to dam monitoring, a UK government report into the safety and inspection of dams and reservoirs following the Toddbrook incident in 2019, could see improved legal requirements for inspection and monitoring that could also feed into other markets.
The continued development of drone technology, coupled with the use of GPR, looks set to produce more potential applications as the system is put into service.
The DamGPR Drone project has received funding from Innovate UK under file reference number: 133909