Offshore wind farm array cable monitoring

For this challenge, SSER is seeking a solution that can deliver a cost-effective method of monitoring array cable conditions on offshore wind farms. Your solution should ideally help to locate a fault as soon as it occurs, to minimise downtime. Find out more and get involved.

Background

SSER is a leading developer and operator of renewable energy across the UK and Ireland, with a portfolio of around 4GW of onshore wind, offshore wind and hydro.

SSER has the largest offshore wind development pipeline in the UK and Ireland, at over 6GW, and has an onshore wind pipeline across both markets of more than 1GW.

In offshore wind farms, array (inter-turbine) cables are installed in jointed lengths from one turbine to its neighbour, forming a string (collection circuit). This feeds into the offshore substation.

Array cable faults are not automatically detected and located. In the event of failure, a visit to the relevant substation is required to confirm failure status. A megger tester (or a similar device) is connected at the associated substation and used to identify a fault location. All wind turbines on the affected array are then offline until the fault is located and a repair is implemented.

Array cable faults are responsible for the majority (around 80%) of insurance claims in the offshore wind sector and are a significant cause of downtime and lost revenue.

The challenge

The challenge is to deliver a cost-effective method of monitoring the array cable condition and locating a fault as soon as it has occurred, to minimise downtime of the affected array.

With your solution, you'll begin to gather data on conditions leading to a cable fault. It's expected that this solution will analyse the collected data to begin to undertake pre-emptive fault prediction. Ideally, the solution should be installed in a non-intrusive way. It's also hoped that it'll be able to be retrofitted to the array cable system of an operating wind farm.

Rewards and benefits

Successful applicants will be given an opportunity to pitch to SSER representatives. Successful solutions may be trialled at SSER sites.

The package may also include:

  • Support from KTN
  • Technical support
  • Invitations to attend or present at KTN events
  • Support of any Innovate or similar competitions are relevant

Requirements

Functional requirements

Metrics which would be beneficial for a system to measure include, but are not limited to:

  • The extent of cable burial
  • Temperature within the cable
  • The movement of the cable
  • The interface between the cable and seabed

Depth of cable measurements are currently performed through multi-beam echosounder (MBES) surveys, approximately once per year. An ability to understand cable depth of burial without the need for these surveys would be an additional benefit.

To calibrate any new technology, cable inspection can be performed using a vessel alongside any trials. Please note that offshore operations will be performed by SSER.

Solutions should allow monitoring from the shore, as far as is practical.

Technical requirements

Solution providers should consider the following technical criteria regarding array cables:

  • Array cables are primarily copper or aluminium core
  • Cables are 3-phase
  • All cables have fibre optics (utilisation of fibre optics can vary)
  • Array cables do not have distributed temperature sensing (DTS) installed — only export (transmission) cables have DTS, and these are not the target of this challenge
  • Cable current is monitored with real-time data, which is available
  • Specification of cables varies — full specifications can be shared with applicants invited to pitch if required
  • Array cables run from one to ten kilometres and export cables can run up to 100 kilometres
  • Cables are buried between 0.5 metres and 1 metre in depth
  • Cables are buried in the seabed, emerging near the structure

Operating conditions

SSER's offshore wind farms are in areas with high seabed mobility.

Deployment Timescale

  • Launch of the Competition: 27 June 2022
  • Deadline for applications: 2 August 2022
  • Selection and notification of finalists: 30 August 2022
  • Date of pitch day: TBD

Solutions should be fully deployable commercially within 1 year of competition win.

Cost requirement and market opportunity

Chosen solutions may be invited to trial at SSER sites and if trials prove successful could see uptake for routine monitoring at SSER sites.

Out of scope

All solutions that can effectively monitor array cables for the metrics previously outlined are welcome to apply.

Eligibility and assessment criteria

Entrants to this competition must be:

  • Established businesses, start-ups, small to midsized enterprises or individual entrepreneurs
  • UK based or have the intention to set up a UK base

Partnerships and consortia of organisations are welcome to apply to this competition.

Applications will be assessed on:

  • Relevance to the topic
  • Innovative nature
  • Feasibility and economic viability
  • Development potential
  • Maturity of the project or solution
  • Ability to launch project quickly and ease of implementation
  • Price to quality ratio
  • Suitability for the UK and European Market

Proposals are welcome for:

  • Existing market-ready technologies
  • Development proposals to improve on market-ready capability
  • Innovations at TRL 5+ with a clear roadmap to implementation
    Solution providers who hold (or are willing to gain) Achilles UVBD accreditation

IP and potential commercial route

  • Existing background IP associated with a potential solution will remain with Solution Provider(s). Where any new IP generation is envisaged, it will be subject to the mutual IP agreement of the Solution Provider(s) and Innovation Challenger.
  • Any commercial deployment of a transferred solution or newly developed solution, through licensing, joint venture, partnership or direct investment, will be subject to the commercial agreement between the Solution Provider(s) and Innovation Challenger.
  • Where necessary, a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) may be signed to uphold confidentiality in the engagement between the Solution Provider(s) and Innovation Challenger. This would be expected to be after company selection. It is suggested that details of IP be not disclosed, Focus on the outcomes of the technology proposed.
  • Innovate UK and KTN do not take any share of IP ownership or enter into commercial ventures through the iX programme.

 

How to get involved

For more details about this challenge and to apply, visit the KTN Innovation Exchange website.