North West firm first in offshore wind technology

Lancashire subsea connector specialist, First Subsea has been awarded £130,000 of funding to help pioneer a new offshore wind breakthrough.

First Subsea has secured the Process Technology Innovation award from the Government’s GROW:OffshoreWind service and will now be able to develop a monopile interface connector and hang off cable connector for wind farms and top tension mooring connector for floating wind turbines.

The firm’s managing director, John Shaw commented: “As the offshore wind industry strives to reduce turbine deployment costs, our connector is a major breakthrough in facilitating quicker and safer installations.”

He continued: “The GROW:OffshoreWind 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.

“It places the UK at the forefront of this type of technology and gives us a great opportunity to grow the business.”

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.

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.

Offshore wind mooring & tensioning connector

Another key part of the GROW support focuses on the development of a patented mooring and top tension connector for the deployment of wind farms further offshore – at water depths in excess of 80m.

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.

Shaw continued: “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.”

GROW:OffshoreWind advisor, David Terry concluded: “One of our main roles is to unlock the potential of English manufacturers and ensure they are in a position to make the most of the market’s undoubted potential.

“In First Subsea, we have given it the ability to develop new technology that has never been seen in the industry before. This is a fantastic competitive advantage to have and I’m sure will spin-out into even more opportunities for the UK supply chain.”