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Synaptec Ltd

Synaptec's offshore turbine monitoring tech wins award for slashing costs

Glasgow-based Synaptec Ltd was the winner of the Best Offshore Renewables Innovation at the 2017 UK Energy Innovation Awards for its Refase™ product.

synaptec webBy their nature, offshore windfarms are hard to reach so when something goes wrong it costs £Millions to locate and repair the cause. At particular risk are the underwater cables which link offshore turbines together in 'strings' up to 12 long. If any part of these submerged cables fails (due to erosion, overheating, or an impact for example) the entire string can be taken out of service for days while engineers are sent out to sea to locate faults.

This is where Refase™ comes in; by using the fibre optic lines already embedded in all underwater cables, Refase™ can remotely monitor each turbine and each connecting cable without any power, locating faults in milliseconds rather than days. This reduces outage time, asset damage, repair times and even reputation cost, thanks to a unique combination of lower-cost monitoring technology, scalability and software:

Refase™ PCTs (Photonic Current Transducers) provide lower-cost monitoring for each intra-array cable by eliminating the power supply, copper, and telecommunication expense traditionally incurred at every sensor location.

Refase™ uses revolutionary photonic multiplexing to remote-monitor as many as 50 of these low-cost PCTs through only one standard, singlemode fibre - even if that fibre is already being used for telecommunications. This effectively creates up to 16 distinct protected sections per string at a lower cost than ever before.

Refase™ software instantly sends digital fault reports which refer to a specific intra-array cable. This enables controllers to focus on repairing faults, rather than finding them, resulting in greatly reduced outage costs and faster repair times.