Diving in the shallow end: a tailor-made solution for renewable ocean power

The ocean is the world’s largest natural power generator. Tidal turbines, used to harness energy created from tides, is just one of the many sustainable technologies used to tap into earth’s immense resources.

But how do these tidal turbines survive a relentless battering from the elements, and how are they maintained? The connecting elements which keep these blades turning year after year are essential components of a more sustainable future. Their sophisticated design demands precision, ingenuity and superior quality.

When one of our cable customers, a hydroelectric industry company, needed a new complete harness solution that could face harsh conditions in a shallow water environment, we were more than ready to step up to the challenge.

Deep-sea connectors made us think deeper

Each underwater turbine is 16 metres wide and relies on 70 individual connectors to function. The complex web of cables powering each turbine must be connected and disconnected quickly within an intense maintenance period.

Today’s off-the-shelf connector solutions are not the most optimal for shallow water usage. Built for deep-sea installations on submarines, they are sturdy but fail to satisfy the customers need for fast and cost-efficient deployment.

To ensure the cables could be connected and disconnected quickly, our main challenge was to develop a low-pressure connector that could provide a reliable bond and also withstand immense stress from underwater currents and ocean debris.

Our interconnect expert team were put to task immediately. We worked closely with the customer to design a solution that was perfectly adapted for shallow water conditions of up to 100 metres, more exact 10 bars. Drawing on over 45 years’ experience of creating cable systems for the offshore and marine industries, we fitted the pressure-resistant connectors with custom PEEK covers and backshells to stop delamination, prevent water-induced moulding on metallic parts and safely shield the connectors from water penetration.

We tested our solution over a two-year period to ensure that it could withstand the harsh marine conditions for a long operating lifespan of at least 25 years.

Small parts: big impact

Our custom solution not only delivers optimal performance for tailored application, but it also offers increased cost efficiency compared to the market’s deep-sea alternatives.

Custom solutions are ideal for delivering long term value by matching the needs of the application with the needs of the business. As was the case here, off-the-shelf solutions can be functional yet are not always guaranteed to offer optimal cost efficiency.

The 10 bar connector harness is just one of the many tailor-made solutions we create at Habia. In fact, we create over 8,000 unique products every year.