With 23 out of the 25 largest offshore wind farms in the world, Europe is at the forefront of wind and tidal energy generation. High voltage (HV) cables are a key infrastructural component for the offshore energy grid; they interconnect power sources and link them with the mainland. An estimated 32,000 km HV submarine power cable will be required in the coming years to meet Europe’s demand alone.
Current practice is to lay the HV cables on top of the seabed without burial or protection. Leaving the HV cables exposed to tidal forces, abrasion against rocks, snagging from fishing nets, and damage from dropped anchors. With cables repair vessels costing up to €100K per day and with 80% cable industry related insurance claims, the prospect of multiple cable failures will have massive cost and consistency implications for the offshore industry networks.
Existing excavation machines use 'track' locomotion, however this approach was developed for machines to operate on soft and unstable ground. Tracked trenching machines do not perform well on hard rock, uneven terrain, or in high currents. Refitting excavation machines with a modular legged locomotion system became Innora's novel solution. The Hexapod will enable the current trenching machines to move in all directions; to turn on the spot in any direction (forward, backwards, sideways, diagonally). Such freedom of movement is critical especially around the wind turbine's bases. The intelligent system adapts to the terrain and keeps the trench 'cutting tool' stable always. It responds to sensor input and distributes its weight evenly over the ground since the Hexapod can find a base of support for each of its six legs. The result is extraordinary stability coupled with optimal weight distribution. Depending on terrain morphology, the machine operator can adjust both the ground clearance of the Hexapod and the height of each step. Exact step positioning and spot contact with the seabed enables the machine to overcome obstacles.
Functional specifications / concept creation / multi-body dynamics / simulation software / prototype design / decision making algorithms / control system / system software / CAD design / working prototype construction / testing.