Published 13 June 2018

Supporting the development of new, improved insulation materials for offshore power cables.

The Project

SUSCABLE2 is a joint industry project aiming to design, develop and test a medium-voltage, alternating current cable based on innovative insulation materials.

Like the rest of the electrical equipment that makes up an offshore wind farm, subsea cables regularly operate under a dynamic load. While these vital components operate below their rated limits during certain periods, the system operator may also be interested in transmitting additional power above the cable rating during periods of peak demand. At the time the SUSCABLE2 project was developed, the requirement for designing a subsea cable which could accommodate a variable loading profile was seen as a priority for offshore wind operators.

The Catapult collaborated with GnoSys Global Ltd and other partners in supporting the development of new insulation materials for power cables in the onshore and offshore renewables industries. The development of new insulation materials will result in the enhancement of the thermal performance of the power cables. This in turn should extend their operational life and thus drive down whole-life costs. Partners involved in developing SUSCABLE included the National Grid and SP Energy Networks as technology users, leading cable manufacturers, and the University of Southampton and GnoSys Global as research providers. The project’s key benefits included:

  • Increased thermal rating of power cables, providing peak and continuous loading capability higher than the status quo at the time.
  • The potential to reduce insulation thickness, facilitating a more compact cable design and longer lengths.
  • Improvement of the electrical connection reliability and increased energy-to-power conversion.

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