Submarine power cables are vital components of any offshore energy structure, as they transport the exploited energy on to the onshore network. The inspection and identification of these cables has been identified as a costly and inefficient operation. These difficulties are even more complicated to overcome in the case of water depths larger than 40 m, since divers have a very limited time to stay underwater in such conditions. This is clearly a serious obstacle considering the large amount of cable kilometers involved in offshore renewable energy farms. In any case, an automated process must be established to perform these operations in order to cover the whole cable network in a cost efficient manner.

The SymbioTracker is a product oriented project, that aims to develop an autonomous underwater locating system for subsea power cables.

The origin of this project have started at WavEC, when this particular need was identified during conversations with Stakeholders. From this point on a consortium of partners with the technical and commercial expertise was gathered and financing was granted by KIC InnoEnergy.

The SymbioTracker can be segmented in two parts:

Energy Harvesting Device - A system of harnessing energy by induction, capable of capturing energy continuously during normal operation of the power cable. The principles of this technology have already been developed and patented by the Univ. of Oslo.

Acoustic Locator Unit – A commercial acoustic locating system linked to the energy harvesting device, which provides the geographical position.

The SymbioTracker project is a good example of approximation between the knowledge developed at the University level and the industry needs.

From the optimization of the energy harvesting device to the installation strategy of the final product on the cable, WavEC will contribute to most of the Work Packages of this project.

General Information

Funding: KIC InnoEnergy
WavEC Coordinator: Paulo Chainho
Total Funding (Requested EU contribution): € 358.757
WavEC Funding: € 106.103
Duration: 1 Julho 2013 – 31 Junho 2015 (24 meses)
Coordinator: Tecnalia
Partners: Tecnalia (Espanha), WavEC (Portugal), University of Oslo (Noruega), Blue Edge (Portugal)