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Cohort company SEA and the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) showcased SEA’s Drymate Connector at Renewable UK’s 13th Annual Wave & Tidal Conference in London on 23 February 2017.

EMEC is the world’s leading marine energy facility, providing the hard infrastructure necessary to test wave and tidal energy prototypes at sea. The electricity produced at EMEC’s test sites is fed into an onshore substation through subsea cables, and is then connected into the national power grid. SEA’s connector is used to connect marine energy technologies to EMEC’s subsea cables. Connected to the subsea end of EMEC’s cable, SEA’s Drymate Connector provides pressure balanced make and break connectivity. This enables rapid connection, proven in operation at the EMEC test site.

The connector also includes termination using a Partial Discharge (PD) free, testable stop-end solution allowing full energization and testing of the terminated cable. This enables the cable to be terminated when it is first laid and left on the seabed until it is needed. It can then be raised and reconnected as required, for example when it is to be connected to a prototype device, or if a cable is damaged. This overcomes the issue of isolating a cable out of the water for up to 48 hours, while sealants harden, before it can be put back into the sea.

EMEC Managing Director Neil Kermode explains:

“Operations at sea can be very complex. While a connection takes place, vessels must not move more than a few meters off station or the cable could get damaged, so the quicker we can get the job done the better. We’ve seen SEA’s connector installed and running in just 24 hours, using the vessel’s time on station very effectively.

“In addition to that, live cables running at 11kV produce complex magnetic fields at the cable end so we need effective termination and testing capabilities to make sure it is safe to electrically ‘pressurize’ a cable before going live. The SEA termination, with its fibre optics, provide a test end which means we can test a cable from shore electrically and ensure it is in good order before handing it over to our clients. These features offer significant operational benefits.”

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