Joint industry project launched to improve undersea cable performance

Published 14 January 2015

A collaboration between the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult and GnoSys Global Ltd is supporting development of a new insulation material for power cables to improve their performance in the onshore and offshore renewable energy industries, and drive down whole life network costs.

New, more reliable electrical connections are needed to meet the growing demand from the UK’s offshore renewables networks and Smart Grids for cables that can deal with larger and more variable current loadings.

ORE Catapult is working with GnoSys, a Guildford-based technology innovation company, and power cable manufacturers and users, on a project to further develop a new generation of polymer blend-based cables to provide greater insulation, improving electrical connection reliability and increasing energy to power conversion. This follows a successful Innovate UK-funded project led by GnoSys Global and the University of Southampton called SUSCABLE.

Partners involved in further developing SUSCABLE include National Grid and Scottish Power as users, leading cable manufacturers, and the University of Southampton and GnoSys Global as research providers.

Engaging with industry, and particularly with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to accelerate the identification, development and commercialisation of innovative technology is a key objective for ORE Catapult. Working with ORE Catapult provides SMEs with an unparalleled understanding of industry need and direct route to market to commercialise their technology. The ORE Catapult has launched a series of Innovation Challenges to industry, including challenges in the electrical infrastructure area, the resolution of which could help drive down the cost of offshore renewable energy, and have a positive impact on the UK economy.

Chris Hill, ORE Catapult Innovation Programmes Director said:

“Innovative technological improvements in the performance of onshore and undersea power cables is an important step in the drive to lengthen the life of connections between offshore wind turbines and between wind and marine offshore renewable energy power stations and onshore connections, improving their ability to handle increasingly variable peak loads. Using innovative materials and testing their robustness and resilience in cable designs could lead to a step-change in electrical cable technology, and ultimately drive down whole life network costs.”

Gary Stevens, GnoSys Managing Director added:

“Working with ORE Catapult and our development partners provides an ideal combination of cable producers, end users and research providers to bring this new technology to market to create benefits to new power networks offshore and onshore that demand variable peak load capability, and to do so in a sustainable way.”

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