Presentations - WindEurope Annual Event 2024

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Electric Fault Detection and Localization in Submarine Power Cables Using Distributed Acoustic Sensing

Simon De Rijcke, Project Lead, Marlinks


Detection and localization of electrical faults in power cables can be challenging in a submarine environment. We have conducted a series of tests to evaluate the effectiveness of Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) for detecting and localizing electrical faults in a submarine cable. Two distinct types of defects were intentionally applied to a buried and submerged cable: a defect in the outer serving and a defect in the insulation. Subsequently, a cable thumper was connected to generate a short-circuit and arc at the fault location, thereby inducing acoustic emission in the cable. To capture these vibrations and acoustics, a DAS system was connected to the optical fibers embedded in the power cable. The DAS system successfully detected the acoustics caused by the arc-for both defects. Furthermore, at a high measuring frequency, we observed the resulting shockwave traveling through the cable, enabling accurate fault localization along the cable. The proposed method offers a non-intrusive solution for electrical fault detection and localization in electrical submarine cables.

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