Lancaster-based firm awarded £130,000 to develop wind farm project

Funding: First Subsea's innovative cable connector technology
Funding: First Subsea's innovative cable connector technology
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Lancaster-based First Subsea has been awarded £130,000 of Process Technology Innovation Funding under the Government’s GROW:Offshore Wind programme.

The award is for development of connectors for offshore wind farms and floating wind turbines.

These developments will place the UK at the forefront of offshore wind cable connector and mooring technology.

The most labour intensive and time-consuming element of installing power cable into an Offshore Wind monopile is its connection and termination.

First Subsea’s patented connection systems are designed to streamline the cable installation process with its combination of monopile interface connector (MIC) and hang off cable connector (HOC) for both traditional and pre-stripped cable. The MIC secures the cable’s monopile connection while the HOC holds the cable in position on the hang-off deck ready for connection.

First Subsea believes the GROW investment will greatly accelerate the development of patented connection systems.

In addition to significant installation time savings offshore, they will provide robust and foolproof connections that can be readily adapted for a range of offshore wind turbines and cable protection systems.

John Shaw, managing director, First Subsea Ltd, said: “As the offshore wind industry strives to reduce turbine deployment costs, our connector is a major breakthrough in facilitating quicker and safer installations.

“The GROW:Offshore Wind award will allow us to develop our engineering and production teams, and produce trial connectors to undertake full scale testing in collaboration with the offshore wind industry.”

Another key part of the Innovation Funding Award is development of a patented mooring and top tension connector for the deployment of wind farms further offshore at water depths in excess of 80m, where monopiles are considered impractical.

The top tension connector will allow installation contractors to tension a floating turbine’s mooring lines without the need for divers, ROVs and specialist surface vessels.

It uses a simple push and grip technology to connect mooring lines to a range of floating wind turbine platforms.

Mr Shaw said: “This is a particularly exciting development – new mooring technologies will be key to the success of deploying floating wind farms in deeper waters.

“The mooring and tensioning connector is designed to withstand the kinds of dynamic forces likely to be experienced in the high sea states needed for power generation.”