ORCHIDS Project to Enhance Subsea Cable Monitoring

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Fraunhofer UK has joined forces with Synaptec and the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) to develop a solution to address cable and electrical infrastructure integrity within the marine renewable energy industry.

Funded by the UK Government’s business innovation experts InnovateUK, the ORCHIDS project (Offshore Renewable energy Cable Health monitoring using Integrated Distributed Sensor systems) has brought experts together to tackle one of the challenges in offshore renewable energy.

“Subsea cable health is a particular challenge for marine energy and offshore renewables due to the hostile environment in which they are placed and have to operate”, remarks David Hytch, Offshore Renewables Specialist at InnovateUK. “Failure of cables can also lead to costly losses of revenue and hefty repair bills.”

“As business focused innovation experts, Innovate UK recognised the potential benefits of the ORCHIDS project to reduce the cost of offshore renewable energy and improve the use of these technologies for sustainable, secure and competitive power generation in the future. Thinking about the future and supporting projects involving businesses with high growth potential is exactly what Innovate UK is for and we are pleased to be able to provide funding for ORCHIDS and help to connect the collaborators through the Energy Catalyst programme.”

The project is looking to enhance subsea cable monitoring capabilities by combining emerging optical sensing techniques to enable a smart cable management system that can be utilised during manufacture, transport, installation, through to end of life.

The feasibility study will include a market assessment looking at the commercial case for the technology alongside a technical review of different distributed fibre sensing techniques.

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