TECHNOLOGY ENTREPRENEURSHIP COURSEOPPORTUNITY ANALYSIS PROJECT – FINAL VERSION Smart UAVs for the Energy Sector Innovative Aeronautics Team – November 2012
Why UAVs for the Energy Domain? Civil UAVs are: Autonomous, fully operational unmanned aerial vehicles used for civilian uses The most dynamically growing sector of the aerospace and defense industry An exceptional chance for a business venture with outstanding profitability prospects Key advantages: Vastly reduced costs Enhanced operational capabilities Safety of personnel & public Environmentally friendly vehicles
Initial Hypothesis Where we focus? On deploying smart UAVs for the Energy Sector and in particular for: Gas & Oil Industries Power Grid Companies Which activities? Power lines inspections Gas & Oil pipelines imaging and monitoring
Initial Project Vision What about our project goals? Offer B2B UAV services for the energy sector Execute missions according to customer specifications utilizing company-owned UAVs and personnel necessary for mission deployment, data acquisition and processing Provide company-owned UAVs according to customer specifications with/without the support personnel necessary for mission deployment, data acquisition and processing
Customer Segments Which market we target? Large energy producers, power grid management companies, natural gas & oil networks Which companies we asked? Answer: All the key players of greek energy market: 1. Hellenic Electricity Transmission System Operator S.A. 2. DEPA (Greek Natural Gas Monopoly) 3. Hellenic Petroleum 4. Public Power Corporation of Greece (biggest greek electric power company)
Face-to-Face Interviews What did we want to know? General Questions to Industries’ Management Level Would you invest to UAV solutions for your needs? If yes, what are your costs for your current solutions? Could you make a gross estimation of what you would be willing to pay for each service? What suggestions would make you more attracted to our services? If you do not want to buy our services can you describe us the reasons? Which risk factors you would recognize in such an investment? Give any other comments you want for our services Technical Questions to Industries’ R&D and Technical Departments Could you analyze the areas in your industry where you think UAVs could provide solutions?
Face-to-Face Interviews What did we learn? - Lesson categories We can distinguish the lessons arisen from the face-to-face interviews into three categories: Potential interest for UAV solution to various fields from energy industries; The exact application fields & technical aspects where industries are willing to apply UAV solutions How our business prototype should be modified technically in order to fit the needs of the energy sector
Face-to-Face Interviews What did we learn? – Energy Sector Interest All industries mentioned that they have little to medium experience on potential UAV application in the field At the same time all the companies expressed high interest on UAV solution, provided they will offer ALL the following advantages: Minimization of human factor (lower labor costs) Minimization of accident risks Easy access to remote and dangerous areas Fast response and diagnosis of critical conditions Lower maintenance and monitoring cost on the midterm.
Face-to-Face Interviews What did we learn? – UAV Application areas Application Fields suggested by Power Grid companies: Daily & Emergency failure inspection Power engineering dynamic monitoring & visual tracking of designated features (power lines, poles, etc.) Thermographic inspection of electrical connections in the grid Identification of pylon and insulator corrosion, arcing and hot spots Application Fields suggested by Oil & Gas companies: Detection of gas emission escapes/oil leakages from the pipelines Monitoring of construction & excavation works, laying of cables etc Monitoring of repairing activities, assembling machinery, laying drainage cables Discoloring of vegetation above pipelines Monitoring of temporary deposition of materials and agricultural products around the pipelines
Face-to-Face Interviews What did we learn? – Prototype Modifications (1) Based on the feedback from the interviews we realized that one the main problems when using inspection vehicles is the duration of their power supply. The longer the craft can stay operational the more lines/pipelines can be inspected. Current battery technology does not permit long durations of flight for small electrically driven UAVs. Which solution is making our prototype suitable for the Energy Sector? A novel approach that derives added value through the combination of the advantages of two established types of UAVs: autonomous blimps quadrocopters which can be refueled on air by the blimps
Face-to-Face Interviews What did we learn? – Prototype Modifications (2) Why we modified our prototype by considering an air-to-air refuelling system? Addresses the main shortcomings of autonomous blimps and quadrocopters as well, thus resulting in a holistic approach and efficient solution for most types of energy UAV applications. Provides high autonomy and mission range with lower cost. Is the air-to-air UAV-Blimp refuelling system technically possible : Answer: Yes. It is possible. In fact, it is a state-of-the-art technical approach which has been studied and applied with success
Product Prototype (1)UAV BlimpTechnical CharacteristicsMaximum Velocity 30m/sOptimum Velocity 10-15m/sMission Range 9hr/400kmPayload 5-7kg.Operational Altitude 300mZero Emissions/Noise; Low ObservabilityAutonomous Operation/Mission-Deployment UAV Blimp Superior Advantages technology increased payload and range Custom-made quiet and obstructive (for the public) operation solution stationary surveillance capability Lower Price low cost to manufacture and maintain
Product Prototype (2) Quadrocopter Advantages exceptional agility small size thus micro-level surveillance capability very low cost to manufacture and maintain
Product Prototype (3) The proposed scheme foresees the deployment of an autonomous blimp, equipped with mission-specific sensors (ranging from conventional cameras to IR and LiDARs) which also operates as a flying carrier and refueling station for small quadrocopters.In that manner, aerial surveillance in macro-and micro-level can be attainedsimultaneously, thus optimally satisfying therequirements for most energy missions.Effectively all aerial surveillance applications(3d mapping, predictive maintenance forenergy grids, corridor mapping, public safety,remorse sensing, etc, necessary for theapplication fields) can be executed in a mostefficient manner.
Product Prototype (4) – Timeline for the Commercial Product Day Zero Day Zero +18months•Software •Iron-bird & UAV •PromotionDevelopment construction •Mission Execution•Flight Testing •UAV shakedown •UAV Production•Autonomous •Mission Testing •Further R&DOperation & HIL •Missions with •Technical•Business Plan prospective clients Consultancy Fund raising UAV goes live
Market Size Evaluation (1) For an estimation of the market size we combined the official data of economic results for the year 2011 of the companies we visited with the explanations by the companies about specific costs for the fields where UAVs can provide solutions. The companies we visited represent the 90% of the energy sector in Greece. In total, labour, maintenance, inspection and fuel costs related to activities that could potentially be totally or partially substituted by UAVs count for a gross amount of 100 million Euros/per year concerning the Greek Market. The cost savings provided by our Prototype depend on the specific application. For comparison, we will present a concrete example that was analyzed in detail with Public Power Corporation in Greece (http://www.dei.gr/Default.aspx?lang=2)
Market Size Evaluation (2)Case Study: Network SurveillanceDefault Practice UAV MissionUse of manned helicopter with pilot Use of UAV Airship deployed on siteand measurements conducting crew Ground station mission supportRunning costs, logistic costs, 1-man support team on ground stationinsurance, crew payment Minimal running/logistic costsSecurity issues rather common No security issues/ v. low insuranceVertical vibrations often affect the Excellent data measurementsquality of measured data Between 6-9hrs single sessionMaximum of two 2hrs measuring deployment before refuelingsessions per day Mission costs 5k € per day!Overall charge ca. 30k € per day!
Market Size Evaluation (3) Is our Prototype focusing only on the Greek Market and only on the Energy Sector?: The answer is NO. We particularly focus on the European Market because of legal and economic similarities with the greek energy sector. But in general all the global energy field could be a potential market. We discovered that all the basic functionalities of our prototype can apply to a large number of civil applicationsApplications E FA.Government 6% 1% D(law enforcement, border- & coastguard) 13%B.Fire Fighting A(forest fires, Search And Rescue) C 45% 10%C.Energy Sector(oil and gas industry, electricity networks)D.Earth Observation and Remote Sensing B(climate monitoring, mapping and surveying) 25%E.Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries(environmental monitoring, crop dusting)
Market Size Evaluation (4) The previous diagram proves that the energy sector consitute only the 10% of the potential application fields for civil UAVs. For this reason an estimation of the total global market for civil UAVs can arise only from literature and future projections. Teal Group Market Research* For years 2009-2019. world procurement raising from 4.4 $ bn annually to 8.7 $ bn For years 2009-2019. total expenditure >62 $ bn * UAV Market Research, 2009"A civil market for UAVs isbeginning to emerge over thenext decade, starting firstwith governmentalorganizations" World UAV Forecast, Teal Group, 2010
Environmental Monitoring – A New Opportunity (1)Amongst the additional applications where our prototype can be used, we recognized as themost relative the environmental monitoring. In particular, the combination of UAV Blimb &Quantrocopters could be used for : Managing Federal lands. Monitoring environmental conditions and natural resources use. Analyzing dynamic earth processes. Supporting global and climate change investigations (carbon trade). Supporting law enforcement actions. Aiding search and rescue teams. Inventorying wildlife. Generating mapping, charting, and geodesy products. Conducting environmental impact assessments. Developing an archive of observations. Preventing, preparing for, responding to, and recovering from disasters.
Environmental Monitoring – A New Opportunity (2)To study this new possibility for our project we had a number of face-to-face interviews with the following government institutions and non-government organizations: • Greek Ministry of Environment • Greek Forest Administration Service • WWF Hellas • Greek Ministry of Agriculture • Callisto Environmental Organization
Environmental Monitoring – A New Opportunity (3) What did the environmental institutions answered? All the institutions considered our proposal appealing and thy were highly motivated to discuss technical details For some of the potentials of environmental monitoring there are no current alternative solutions They were unable to provide an estimation of current costs suggesting that this is a complex issue They were considering difficult the financing of such innovative projects. In advance, the Ministry of Environment mentioned that: It cannot provide an estimation of the total market since it concerns a totally new field The complete legal framework for civil UAVs is still under review While at the same time it referred to the strong interest of European Union in funding such projects in collaboration with the private sector and public institutions In general, environmental monitoring using UAVs is a new field with high potential but difficulties to estimate the exact market size. Our interviews will continue towards this direction the coming weeks
Marketing Strategy Based on our interviews with the energy industries we realized that the best marketing approaches to make our services attractive would be by using the following promotion channels: Aerospace Fairs Direct Marketing on the basis of existing references Specialized media Academic Conferences – Journals to present our technical aproach
Competition and Risk Analysis (1) Main risks/advancements: Very low probability of shift in political conditions regarding UAV perception (e.g. legal frame that will allow air-traffic blend-in for fully autonomous UAVs already elaborated) Low probability of economical conditions affecting the emerging UAV market (massive cost reduction!) Very low probability of social disapproval for civil UAV technologies (significant advances in public benefit, advances in personnel safety, environmentally friendly technology, positive image) Very low probability of technology advances rendering UAV uses obsolete (instead, help to establish autonomous technologies in civil applications)
Competition and Risk Analysis (2) Prospective Competitors Specialized UAV companies: technical deficiencies, lack of development, inferior starting point Big aerospace manufacturers: over-occupied with existing markets, focus on military applications for UAVs Currently, only a very limited number of small companies are focusing on UAV solution for the energy sector. Our strongest advantage is the high autonomy provided by our air-to-air refuelling system