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Review of Electrical Connectors for Underwater Applications
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Electricity. (Vågkraft)
TECNALIA.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Electricity. (Vågkraft)
2017 (English)In: IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering, ISSN 0364-9059, E-ISSN 1558-1691Article in journal (Refereed) Accepted
Abstract [en]

The history of underwater electrical connectors is relativelynew: In 1858, the first transatlantic communication cable was created. Sincethen, the need for subsea electrical connectors has been growing very fastin the offshore industry. Today numerous companies offer a large choiceof underwater connectors and assemblies, and it can be intricate to distinguish the different technologies employed for each of them. However theuse, deployment, maintenance, and lifetime of any subsea equipment, froma simple sonar to a wave energy converter, relies on its connectors. Hencethe design of an underwater electrical connector is to be carefully lookedat, and especially for tailor-made applications that have more specific requirements. To produce a good connector, it is necessary to account for thermal, electrical, and mechanical properties, as well as to determine thebest materials that should be used for the application. Finally, connector issues go hand in hand with the deployment and operation of any electrical equipment, and it is of interest to review the different techniques for cable connection, as well as the challenges related to cable layout. Those challenges can be of different nature, but they should all be taken into account for any subsea connection.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keywords [en]
Cable, connector, electrical, review, subsea, underwater
National Category
Engineering and Technology Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-334294DOI: 10.1109/JOE.2017.2745598OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-334294DiVA, id: diva2:1159226
Available from: 2017-11-22 Created: 2017-11-22 Last updated: 2018-08-01
In thesis
1. Automation of underwater operations on wave energy converters using remotely operated vehicles
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Automation of underwater operations on wave energy converters using remotely operated vehicles
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In the last fifteen years, the Division of Electricity at Uppsala University has been developing a wave energy converter (WEC) concept. The concept is based on a point-absorbing buoy with a directly driven linear generator placed on the seabed. Several units are connected to a marine substation, whose role is to collect and smooth the power absorbed from the waves and then bring it to the shore through one single cable.

A big challenge in the project is to reduce the costs related to the deployment and maintenance of the WECs and substation. Currently, those operations are performed by divers, which is costly and entail considerable risks. A possibility is to replace divers with automated solutions using small robots called remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). This PhD thesis proposes and analyses a method for deployment and maintenance of underwater devices with no use of diving operations.

Existing ROVs need additional modules and equipment in order to carry out operations with the required force and precision. Typical missions are inspection, shackles or slings removal, valve closing, and cable connection. The latter demands especially high precision in the positioning: 5 mm in distance and 5◦ in heading angle. In addition, this operation involves forces up to 200 N. This combination power-precision is not reached by existing ROVs. This PhD thesis presents a positioning system for underwater robot to enable autonomous positioning of the vehicle before cable connection.

The positioning system is composed of two green lasers and a monocular camera, and is based on image processing. Experimental results from laboratory testing show that the mean absolute error in distance measurement is as low as 6 mm at 0.7 m from the target, whereas the heading is minimized to 2◦. The computational time for the image processing is 13.6 ms per image, meaning the possibility of a 30 Hz measurement system. Used together with a closed-loop path-following unit, this positioning system can support autonomous docking. This PhD thesis presents the model of an autopilot and results from docking simulations, showing the performance of the positioning system used in closed-loop.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2018. p. 74
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1695
Keywords
Remotely Operated Vehicles, wave energy, WEC deployment, cable connection, optical positioning system, autonomous underwater docking
National Category
Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering Marine Engineering Ocean and River Engineering Energy Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-356565 (URN)978-91-513-0388-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-09-21, Häggsalen, Ångströmlaboratoriet, Lägerhyddsvägen 1, Uppsala, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-08-22 Created: 2018-08-01 Last updated: 2018-08-28

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