Offshore wind energy is central to UK’s ambition of reducing carbon emissions. Traditional fixed foundation wind farms have limitations due to their surrounding environment and congestion, whereas floating platforms provide utilisation of deeper waters and increased capacity, for example in the North Sea. The Floating Wind Joint Industry Project Report 2018 identified cables to be at the heart of priority innovation needs. Typically, cable assets contribute to 5-10% of the total investment costs for an offshore wind farm. However, cable failures cause the majority of the offshore power outages and account for approximately 80% of insurance claims in this industry.
The hypothesis explored in this proposal is that repeated flexing of a cable significantly reduces the cable’s life expectancy through repeated extension and compression of the polymeric dielectric. In particular, the impact of dynamic strain on a failure mechanism known as electrical tree growth will be explored. Electrical trees are microscopic tree-like voids which grow inside the insulation that eventually lead to catastrophic asset failure. The project will work closely with ORE Catapult’s dynamic cable bend fatigue rig team in Blyth, to conduct the test trial combining the mechanical flexing and electrical treeing concurrently.
Dr Lujia (Tony) Chen - Principal Investigator
Dr Chen received both his BEng degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering and PhD degree in High Voltage Engineering from Cardiff University, UK, in 2012 and 2015, respectively. Following which, Dr Chen worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Cardiff University until 2016. Between 2012 and 2016, Dr Chen was working toward the characterisation of CF3I gas and its mixtures in a gas insulated line demonstrator. Dr Chen then worked at Western Power Distribution and moved across the business in the field of Primary System Design, Network Servicing and Innovation. Dr Chen joined the University of Manchester in April 2017 as a Lecturer in High Voltage Engineering within the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and his research interests include the feasibility of replacing SF6 with an environmental friendly insulation medium in gas insulated equipment.