The number of installed subsea electrical transmission cables is increasing rapidly. The growth in installed transmission capacity is driven by changes in the electricity demand, including the building of large offshore wind farms and wave energy stations.
Subsea cables face a number of hazards, such as trenched sections being uncovered by undersea currents, damage from anchors and fishing gear, in addition to the failures that exist in onshore cables. Moreover, finding the cable for repairs or to avoid damage when other infrastructure is installed can be challenging because tides and currents sometimes cause the cable to shift significantly away from the position at which it was installed.
Fiber optic based DAS technology allows for continuous monitoring of sub sea energy cables in real time. The technology uses the fiber optic cable itself as a sensor, enabling measurements of acoustic signals along the entire length of the cable. This allows for the detection of changes in cable integrity, including changes in strain, temperature, and pressure, which can indicate potential problems.
The benefits of fiber optic based DAS in sub sea energy cables include:
- Improved safety and reliability: Continuous monitoring of cable integrity allows for early detection of potential issues, enabling proactive maintenance and repair.
- Reduced downtime and cost: Early detection of cable damage and failure can reduce downtime and minimize the cost of repairs.
- Enhanced data collection: DAS technology can provide detailed data on cable behavior and performance, enabling better understanding of sub sea environments and improved design of future infrastructure.
Overall, fiber optic based DAS is an important technology for ensuring the safety, reliability, and performance of sub sea energy cables, and is becoming increasingly adopted as a standard in the industry.