Terrafame, a responsible battery chemicals producer for electric vehicles, has selected Finland-based airship development company Kelluu to provide accurate and geo-referenced terrain data for continuous monitoring of its 60 sq.km industrial site.
The aerial monitoring has been done mainly using satellites or helicopters, battery-powered drones, or land-based surveys.
Kelluu develops long-distance, self-flying and hydrogen-powered airship concepts mounted with several spectral cameras, sensors and scanners that can gather real-time data on terrain, vegetation and infrastructure. It then processes the data to create an accurate 3D digital twin of the environment, enabling Terrafame in this instance to monitor and forecast dynamic changes at the industrial site and optimise its infrastructure maintenance and production processes, and further strengthen the environmental safety of the site, Kelluu says.
Aki Ullgren, Senior Geotechnical Engineer at Terrafame, said: “The combination of high-resolution RGB, multispectral and Flir images, combined with the same 3D mesh, is a fascinating tool, especially in heap leaching and open-pit slope stability modelling. We’re happy to welcome Kelluu to the group of monitoring services we use to promote safety and efficiency at our Terrafame site.”
Kelluu’s airships are highly efficient, emitting 99.5% less CO2 emissions than traditional aerial monitoring, and frequently cover mission times of over 12 hours, the company claims. The airships are effectively operational in sub-zero temperatures.
Kelluu says its facility in Finland is the only airship factory and product development laboratory in northern Europe.
Janne Hietala, CEO of Kelluu, said: “It is truly mesmerising to see the Kelluu’s airships in the air at Terrafame. We felt a strong connection with Terrafame’s commitment to positively impacting the world by reducing emissions of electromobility. What Terrafame does for mobility, we do it for aviation. Together, we provide increased safety using Kelluu’s breakthrough intelligent airship technology.”
Terrafame has one of the world’s largest production lines for chemicals used in electric car batteries on its industrial site in Finland. The plant can produce nickel sulphate for around 1 million electric cars per year, it claims. The carbon footprint of the nickel sulphate produced by Terrafame is among the smallest in the industry.
As Terraframe produces hydrogen onsite and the airships are powered by hydrogen, Kelluu has built a ground base for its airships on Terrafame’s industrial site. Kelluu will autonomously transfer its airship from its current base in Joensuu, Finland, to Terrafame’s base in Sotkamo.
In addition to Kelluu, Terrafame has multiple other partners helping to monitor its site and develop its operations and occupational and environmental safety.