Latvian start-up Aerones has raised $9 million in seed capital to develop robotic services for wind energy operators around the world. The investment aims to be an innovation pioneer in the wind energy sector and to double its turnover within a year.
Aerones is active in the field of inspection and maintenance robotics for wind turbine blades and already works with nine of the ten largest wind energy companies in the world. These include Siemens Gamesa, Enel, GE and Vestas. Aerones currently services more than 3,000 wind turbines in 17 countries in Europe, North and South America.
Aerones’ services are automated, using highly specialised hardware and IT solutions that enable faster, safer and more efficient operations. Using a suite of patented robots, Aerones performs turbine inspections and maintenance up to six times faster and up to 40% more cost-effectively than manual work by high climbers.
“We are rapidly scaling up operations in terms of robots and maintenance teams in the field. This funding allows us to continue our rapid growth and prepare for our Series A funding round later this year,” explains Aerones CEO and co-founder Dainis Krūze.
With the seed capital raised, Aerones, a YCombinator Accelerator company, will increase production and expand services to meet the rapidly growing demand. The company believes that continuous innovation and the development of intelligent predictive maintenance is the most efficient way to sustain wind farms around the world.
“We are continuously developing new robotic solutions to meet customer needs and expand our range of services,” says co-founder and CTO John Putram, “for example, we recently launched an internal inspection robot that scans wind turbine blades and provides digital double inspection data with unprecedented detail, as well as a cleaning solution that removes dirt and oil from turbine towers and blades very efficiently.”
The lead investors in the investment round are Future Positive Capital alongside existing investor Change Ventures. Other investors include Skype founder Jaan Tallinn (through his company Metaplanet), Vinted co-founder Mantas Mikuckas, Printify CEO Janis Berdigans, Capitalia, Pace Ventures and EcoSummit.
“Aerones is the first end-to-end player in the industry,” says Sophie Hmich, founder of Future Positive Capital, “unlike companies that only use remote sensing to capture data or focus on analysis, Aerones automates complex operations. The company becomes a one-stop shop that streamlines operations and helps accelerate the deployment of renewable energy to achieve net zero emissions.”
Fancisco J. Valle, Product Owner for Wind Innovation at Enel Green Power, says: “The innovations we are introducing thanks to the agreement with Aerones will contribute to more responsible energy production by introducing innovations that will improve the development of wind energy.”
Aerones’ expansion is based on the company’s focus on research, development and engineering. The company’s core technology is a unique and patented computerised winch system that controls modular, high-precision robotic arms. Conventional inspection and maintenance is carried out manually – the work is done by people descending ropes from wind turbines. Aerones robots provide the service without any safety risk to humans, and in a wider range of weather conditions.
Long-term service contracts with these industry leaders demonstrate Aerones’ competitiveness in the market. Despite the unfavourable conditions in the context of Covid-19, Aerones’ sales in Q1 2022 have increased more than tenfold compared to the previous year.
As the world invests in decarbonisation and sustainable energy, wind energy is a cost-effective and affordable domestic solution. The market for wind power is projected to grow tenfold over the next 30 years, while the USD 30 billion global market for the operation and maintenance of wind turbines is expected to double.