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Future Design of Subsea High Voltage AC Power Cables for Offshore Renewables

Nexans Norway, together with research partners, aim to develop the next generation lead-free power cables. In the FutureCaRe project, we will perform testing and develop modelling tools to secure high reliability and long lifetime of lead-free “wet design” high voltage AC subsea cables. High Voltage wet design cables will support the development of renewable floating energy sources such as offshore wind, offshore solar power, wind-hydrogen, and wave power technologies.

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Traditionally, subsea XLPE cables rated at or above 52 kV are equipped with a metallic water barrier (extruded lead sheath) to prevent ingress of seawater to the cable core (dry design). Cables rated below 52 kV do not need a metallic barrier (wet design). The technical need for a water barrier is driven by the ageing properties of the insulation system, which are negatively affected by the presence of water.

The potential EU ban on the use of lead by 2025 provides a critical driving force for the research, development, and demonstration of high voltage subsea cable designs without lead sheaths. However, there are other good reasons to use a lead free “wet design” where possible. These include environmental and health concerns caused by lead on people and environment, technical benefits such as weight and dynamic performance, and cost savings.

The next generation subsea cables facilitate new cost-reducing concepts for transportation of energy produced by offshore renewables such as floating wind- and solar farms in the future. As demands for renewable energy increases, reliable high voltage subsea cable designs will be of crucial importance for meeting the ambitious demands and requirements to reduce the European carbon footprint.

Project partners:

This is a Innovation Projects for the Industrial Sector partly financed by the Research Council of Norway.


Key Factors

Project duration

2021 - 2023