Cohort plc company SEA has teamed with research and technology organisation Fraunhofer, the Orkney-based European Marine Energy Centre test centre (EMEC), and optical fibre sensor specialists Synaptec on a new project looking at developing multi-functional monitoring solutions to existing power transmission cables used in the offshore energy industry.

The Cable Lifetime Enhancement via Monitoring using Advanced Thermal and Electrical Infrastructure Sensing (Clematis) technology feasibility study is a 12 month project that will ultimately lead to better maintenance and repair of underwater cables.

The project is investigating ways of improving the accurate monitoring of current, voltage and temperature at key points. The combination of electrical current/voltage sensing alongside cable temperature, vibration and motion detection - using standard optical fibre – would create monitoring and maintenance capabilities not currently available to the industry.

The aim is for a central smart cable monitoring system to monitor the cable condition and performance in real time and re-route power or schedule maintenance with advance warnings on standard wear due to operating/tidal conditions, cable capacity and transmission anomalies.

SEA and EMEC are providing market intelligence, and test equipment and facilities to enable Fraunhofer and Synaptec to test their equipment in real life conditions.

SEA Subsea Engineering Director Matt Blair explained: “We are still in the early stage of the project but the aim will be to integrate this technology into the SEA power connections used at EMEC and other applications where subsea fibre umbilicals are in use.”

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