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Title:
CABLE HANG-OFF ARRANGEMENT
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/162104
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The invention describes a cable hang-off arrangement (1) of an elevated platform (21) comprising a number of tubular enclosures (10), wherein a tubular enclosure (10) is realised to accommodate a transmission cable arrangement (3) and comprises a vertical section (10V) arranged for connection to a supporting structure (20) of the elevated platform (21); a horizontal section (10H) arranged at the level of the elevated platform (21); and a curved section (10C) between the vertical section (10V) and the horizontal section (10H). The invention further describes a tubular enclosure (10) of such a cable hang-off arrangement (1); an offshore facility (2); and a method of securing a transmission cable arrangement (3) to such an offshore facility (2).

Inventors:
SOERENSEN, Johnny (Frifeldtvej 2, 6920 Videbæk, 6920, DK)
Application Number:
EP2017/080740
Publication Date:
September 13, 2018
Filing Date:
November 29, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SIEMENS WIND POWER A/S (Borupvej 16, 7330 Brande, 7330, DK)
International Classes:
H02G1/10; H02G9/06
Domestic Patent References:
WO2012144884A12012-10-26
Foreign References:
DE102008028476A12009-12-17
GB2369728A2002-06-05
GB2473058A2011-03-02
DE102008031002A12009-12-31
EP2863053A12015-04-22
EP2586917A22013-05-01
US3376708A1968-04-09
GB2473733A2011-03-23
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ASPACHER, Karl-Georg (Postfach 22 16 34, München, 80506, DE)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. A cable hang-off arrangement (1) of an elevated platform (21) comprising a number of tubular enclosures (10), wherein a tubular enclosure (10) is realised to accommodate a

transmission cable arrangement (3) and comprises

a vertical section (10V) arranged for connection to a supporting structure (20) of the elevated platform (21); a horizontal section (10H) arranged at the level of the elevated platform (21); and

- a curved section (IOC) between the vertical section (10V) and the horizontal section (10H) .

2. A cable hang-off arrangement according to claim 1, comprising three tubular enclosures (10).

3. A cable hang-off arrangement according to claim 1 or claim 2, comprising a plurality of tubular enclosures (10), and a single vertical section (10V) realised to accommodate the transmission cable arrangements (3) of the plurality of tubular enclosures (10).

4. A cable hang-off arrangement according to any of the preceding claims, comprising a protective barrel (15) arranged to at least partially enclose a vertical section (10V) of the cable hang-off arrangement (1) .

5. A cable hang-off arrangement according to any of the preceding claims, comprising an inverted conical structure (16) at the base of the cable hang-off arrangement (1) .

6. A cable hang-off arrangement according to any of the preceding claims, comprising an end connector (13) realised for mounting to the base of a vertical section (10V) of a tubular enclosure (10). 7. A cable hang-off arrangement according to claim 6, wherein an end connector (13) is oriented in the direction of a sea cable arrangement (4) .

8. A cable hang-off arrangement according to any of the preceding claims, comprising a mounting means for mounting a horizontal section (10H) of a tubular enclosure (10) at the level of the elevated platform (21) . 9. A tubular enclosure (10) of a cable hang-off arrangement (1) of an elevated platform (21), which tubular enclosure (10) is realised to accommodate a transmission cable

arrangement (3) and comprises

a vertical section (10V) arranged for connection to a support (20) of the elevated platform (21);

a horizontal section (10H) arranged at the level of the elevated platform (21); and

a curved section (IOC) between the vertical section (10V) and the horizontal section (10H) . 10. A tubular enclosure according to claim 9, wherein the sections (10H, IOC, 10V) have the same diameter.

11. A tubular enclosure according to claim 9 or claim 10, wherein a tubular enclosure (10) is dimensioned to enclose a plurality of pipes (30) of a transmission cable arrangement (3) .

12. A tubular enclosure according to any of claims 9 to 11, wherein the curved section (IOC) subtends an arc of at least 90° between the vertical section (10V) and the horizontal section ( 1 OH) . 13. An offshore facility (2) comprising

an elevated platform (21) arranged on a supporting structure (20); and

a cable hang-off arrangement (1) according to any of claims 1 to 8, realised to accommodate at least one transmission cable arrangement (3) for electrically connecting the offshore facility (2) to at least one further facility.

14. A method of securing a transmission cable arrangement (3) of an offshore facility (2) according to claim 13 using the cable hang-off arrangement (1) of any of claims 1 to 8, which method comprises the steps of

providing a number of transmission cable arrangements (3) for electrically connecting the offshore facility (2) to at least one further facility; and

arranging each transmission cable arrangement (3) in a tubular enclosure (10) of the cable hang-off arrangement (1) .

Description:
Description

Cable hang-off arrangement

The invention describes a cable hang-off arrangement; a tubular enclosure of a cable hang-off arrangement; an

offshore installation; and a method of securing a

transmission cable arrangement of an offshore installation.

An offshore installation or offshore facility such as a wind turbine, an electrical sub-station, an oil or gas drilling installation etc., is generally mounted on a support

structure and requires a transmission link to an on-shore connection point and/or to another offshore facility.

Usually, most of the transmission link between two such facilities rests on the seabed. A transmission link can comprise a number of power cables as well as communication cables arranged in number of tubes or hoses. These are usually armoured to protect against damage since the

transmission link may lie exposed on the seabed or may only be buried to a shallow depth. Cables of the transmission link must descend from the level of the elevated platform

(carrying the offshore facility) to the level of the seabed. To this end, the transmission cables are usually suspended from the elevated platform and descend essentially vertically to the level of the seabed. It is essential to prevent damage to the cables of the transmission link. Some protection can be given by the use of armoured pipes or hoses that contain the cables. Armouring can be realised as a metal mesh or weave embedded in the body of a protective pipe or tube. The weight of the armoured pipes and their cumbersome handling require significant effort when mounting or connecting them at the level of an elevated platform. Such armoured pipes are generally heavy and very inflexible. Furthermore, when such a heavy pipe or hose rest on a sharp edge at any point along its length, its weight may result in denting or cracking of the armoured pipe. It is therefore an object of the invention to provide an improved way of supporting transmission cable arrangements of an offshore facility.

This object is achieved by the cable hang-off arrangement of claim 1; by the tubular enclosure of claim 9; by the wind turbine installation of claim 13; and by the method of claim 14 of securing a transmission cable arrangement of a wind turbine installation.

According to the invention, the cable hang-off arrangement is for used in conjunction with an installation that has an elevated platform. An example of such an installation is an offshore wind turbine installation, an offshore electrical sub-station, an offshore oil or gas drilling installation, etc. The elevated platform may also be referred to as a transition piece, since it acts as a transition between a supporting structure (monopile, jacket structure, etc.) and the remainder of the installation. The inventive cable hang- off arrangement comprises a number of tubular enclosures, wherein a tubular enclosure is realised to accommodate a transmission cable arrangement and comprises a vertical section arranged for connection to a supporting structure of the elevated platform; a horizontal section arranged to guide the transmission cable arrangement into the elevated

platform; and a curved section between the vertical section and the horizontal section. Each tubular enclosure acts as a protective body for a transmission cable arrangement from a level at or above the elevated support to a level at or near the base of the supporting structure. Since it includes a horizontal section in addition to the vertical section, a tubular enclosure can lead its transmission cable arrangement out beyond an edge of the elevated support before descending towards the base of the supporting structure.

According to the invention, an offshore facility comprises an elevated platform arranged on a supporting structure; and an embodiment of the inventive cable hang-off arrangement, realised to accommodate at least one transmission cable arrangement for electrically connecting the facility to at least one further facility. A further facility can be any another offshore facility as explained above.

According to the invention, the method of securing a

transmission cable arrangement of such an offshore

installation using such a cable hang-off arrangement

comprises the steps of providing a number of transmission cable arrangements for electrically connecting the offshore facility to at least one further facility; and arranging each transmission cable arrangement in a tubular enclosure of the cable hang-off arrangement.

An advantage of the inventive cable hang-off arrangement is that any transmission cable arrangement can be supported over its length within a tubular enclosure in such a way that small-radius bending of the transmission cable arrangement is avoided. This allows the power cables to be realised as more economical non-armoured versions that would generally be used in on-shore installations. In addition to being cheaper, the non-armoured versions are more flexible and significantly lighter than the armoured versions.

The transmission cable arrangement is therefore well

protected against damage such as denting or cracking. A further advantage is that a transmission cable arrangement is not exposed to the environment since it is completely

enclosed within sections of a tubular enclosure. Also, a transmission cable arrangement will not rest on a sharp edge at any point along its length between a level at the elevated support and a level near the base of the supporting

structure . Particularly advantageous embodiments and features of the invention are given by the dependent claims, as revealed in the following description. Features of different claim categories may be combined as appropriate to give further embodiments not described herein. In the following, without restricting the invention in any way, it may be assumed that the elevated platform is the transition piece of an offshore facility such as a wind turbine. In the case of an offshore wind turbine, the

elevated platform or transition piece may also be referred to as a tower foundation platform. The elevated platform can rest on a support structure such as a jacket structure, a monopile, a gravity foundation or even a floating structure.

In the following, the terms "transmission cable arrangement", "transmission link" and "sea cable" may be regarded as synonyms and may be used interchangeably.

In the inventive cable hang-off arrangement, several tubular enclosures may be deployed. For example, one tubular

enclosure can be used for a transmission cable arrangement from a wind turbine installation to an onshore or offshore substation, and one or more further tubular enclosures can be used for sea cables to two further wind turbine

installations. Sea cables pass from the level of the seabed via a vertical portion (given by one or more vertical

sections of tubular enclosures) to the level of the elevated platform, where the horizontal sections may be secured to the platform support structure. A tubular enclosure comprises three parts or sections: the vertical section, the bent or curved section, and the horizontal section. The curved section in conjunction with the vertical section or the horizontal section may be regarded as a type of "J-tube" which serves to ensure that the transition cables are given a favourably large bending radius for the transition between horizontal and vertical. Preferably, the curved section subtends an arc of at least 90° to ensure a smooth transition from the horizontal to the vertical.

The three sections of a tubular enclosure can be made from a single pipe or tube, for example a steel tube. Alternatively, the tubular enclosure can be realised in two or three

sections which can be provided separately. Preferably, the sections have the same diameter. To accommodate a transmission cable arrangement of an offshore wind turbine, for example, the diameter of a tubular enclosure preferably lies in the range 200 mm - 800 mm. The diameter of a tubular enclosure will depend on the size and type of the

transmission cable arrangement that it will enclose.

The sections of a tubular enclosure can be connected to one another in any suitable way. For example, one end of a curved steel tube section can be provided with an end flange for connection to a similar flange at the end of a horizontal steel tube section, etc.

The most vulnerable part of the cable hang-off arrangement may be its vertical portion, since this is likely to be exposed to hazards such as collision damage from debris carried on the water, or inadvertent collisions with marine vessels. A vertical portion of the inventive cable hang-off arrangement is therefore given additional stability, for example by forming the vertical sections of the tubular enclosures from thicker material. Alternatively or in

addition, in a preferred embodiment of the invention, the cable hang-off arrangement comprises a single vertical section realised to accommodate the transmission cable arrangements of a plurality of tubular enclosures. In this embodiment, the single vertical section can have a favourably large diameter, and acts as a protective barrel.

Alternatively or in addition, it may comprise a double wall construction. The protective barrel or outer pipe section can be used instead of the vertical section (s) of the tubular enclosures, or can be arranged to at least partially enclose such vertical section (s) . This protective barrel or outer pipe section can provide additional protection against wave damage, against debris carried on the water, and against inadvertent collision with a marine vessel. With these measures, even if some object should collide with the

vertical section, any dent or damage will be limited to the vertical section itself, while the transmission cable

arrangements remain undamaged. In a further preferred embodiment of the invention, the inventive cable hang-off arrangement comprises an inverted conical structure or "ice cone" arranged to partially enclose a vertical portion of the cable hang-off arrangement. The "ice cone" serves to prevent damage caused by ice forming on the water.

The inventive cable hang-off arrangement serves as an

interface between the installation or facility and the rest of the transmission link on the seabed. Usually, there will be some distance between the bottom of the vertical portion of the cable hang-off arrangement and the seabed. Therefore, in a further preferred embodiment of the invention, the inventive cable hang-off arrangement comprises an end

connector realised for mounting to the base of the vertical portion. An end connector can be formed to make a smooth transition between the vertical section of the tubular enclosure and a sea cable on the seabed. Such an end

connector can be mounted onto the vertical portion using flanges, as explained above, and is preferably oriented in the direction of the see cable to which it attaches.

Other objects and features of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed descriptions considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings. It is to be understood, however, that the drawings are designed solely for the purposes of illustration and not as a

definition of the limits of the invention.

Fig. 1 shows an embodiment of the inventive cable hang-off arrangement ;

Fig. 2 shows a vertical section of an embodiment of the inventive tubular enclosure;

Fig. 3 illustrates an embodiment of the inventive wind turbine installation;

Fig. 4 shows a detail at the upper end of an embodiment of the inventive cable hang-off arrangement;

Fig. 5 shows an array of wind turbines connected using embodiments of the inventive cable hang-off arrangement; Fig. 6 shows a further embodiment of the inventive cable hang-off arrangement;

Fig. 7 shows another embodiment of the inventive cable hang- off arrangement. In the diagrams, like numbers refer to like objects

throughout. Objects in the diagrams are not necessarily drawn to scale.

Fig. 1 shows an embodiment of the inventive cable hang-off arrangement 1, realised for attachment to a supporting structure of an elevated (offshore) platform such as an offshore WT transition piece. In this exemplary embodiment, the cable hang-off arrangement 1 comprises three tubular enclosures 10. This cable hang-off arrangement 1 can

therefore accommodate up to three transmission cable

arrangements. Each tubular enclosure 10 comprises a vertical section 10V arranged for connection to a leg (indicated in the diagram) of supporting structure of the elevated

platform. To mount the vertical sections 10V of the tubular enclosures 10 to the supporting structure, a suitable

arrangement of spars 11, 12 can be used, as indicated in the diagram. In this embodiment, longer spars 11 are welded or bolted to a leg of the supporting structure. A number of shorter spars 12 are used to secure the vertical sections 10V to the longer spars 11. Each tubular enclosure 10 further comprises a horizontal section 10H arranged to guide a transmission cable

arrangement into the elevated platform. To connect each horizontal section 10H with its corresponding vertical section 10V, each tubular enclosure 10 further comprises a curved section IOC that is shaped to form a smooth transition between the horizontal and the vertical. The diagram shows that this exemplary embodiment uses curved sections IOC that each subtend an arc of about 90° between a horizontal section 10H and a vertical section 10V. The sections 10H, IOC, 10V of each tubular enclosure 10 can be connected in any suitable way, for example by means of flanges. Fig. 2 indicates such an outer flange 100 at the top of a vertical section 10V of a tubular enclosure 10. This outer flange 100 can be secured to corresponding flange at the lower end of a curved section IOC using appropriate

fasteners. The diagram also shows pipes 30 of a transmission cable arrangement 3. These can be hollow flexible plastic tubes 30, for example high-density polyethylene (HDPE) tubes, into which the electrical cables are later installed. For example, a transmission cable arrangement 3 can comprise three such hollow tubes 30, each of these can later carry a power cable.

All power generated by a wind turbine is transmitted through its power cable or export cable along the transmission link. At times of high production, the export cables will become hot. The parts of the transmission link that are located in water will be kept favourably cool by the surrounding water temperature, which has generally only a few degrees Celsius. However, at an end position of the power cable e.g. where it is attached to an installation above sea-level, the power cable may not be cooled sufficiently. Such overheated parts of a power cable are referred to as "hot spots" and may cause damage to the cable. An advantage of using a hollow tube is that it can be designed to contain water in addition to a power cable. The water is an efficient cooling medium and keeps the temperature of the power cable at an acceptable level. A cooler power cable can carry a higher electric current. The tube 30 can be partially or completely filled with water during or after installing the power cable. The liquid cooling is particularly advantageous at the cable end connections.

The transmission cable arrangement 3 can also include

communication cables (not shown), and/or one more additional hollow tubes 30, for example an empty tube that can be used during a maintenance procedure. Of course, a transmission cable arrangement 3 can be realised differently, for example as a single flexible hollow pipe or hose which will contain all power cables along with any other communications cables such as fibre-optic or co-axial cables.

Fig. 3 illustrates an embodiment of an inventive wind turbine installation 2. An elevated platform 21 is arranged on a supporting structure 20 for a wind turbine tower 22. The supporting structure 20 in this case is a jacket structure in place on the seabed 7. To electrically connect a wind turbine to a further installation such as a sub-station or another wind turbines, an embodiment of the inventive cable hang-off arrangement 1 is provided, which has tubular enclosures 10 for carrying a number of transmission cable arrangements 3. Two tubular enclosures 10 are shown in this example, one for the export cable 3 and one for connection to a neighbouring wind turbine. An exemplary transmission cable arrangement 3 (which may comprise one or more data cables in addition to three power cables, for example) is indicated in the diagram, showing how it is contained in a tubular enclosure 10 in such a way that it is physically supported over its entire length from the transition piece 21 to a sea cable arrangement 4 on the seabed 7. The transmission cable arrangement 3 is

therefore protected from physical damage. A transmission cable arrangement 3 may also be designed to allow a cooling medium such as water to be filled into the hollow tube(s) . In the inventive cable hang-off arrangement 1, the cooling medium can be contained in the hollow tubes 30 all the way up to the level of the curved section IOC, or even into the region of the horizontal section 10H, if the hollow pipes can be sealed to prevent leaks. One or more types of cooling medium may be pumped into a hollow pipe before or after the power cables are installed. Water cooling is effective at reducing or preventing high temperatures at the hot-spot regions of a transmission cable arrangement. At the upper or outer end of the cable hang-off arrangement, a suitable seal at the end face of the tubular enclosure ensures that any such medium is satisfactorily contained. Fig. 4 shows a detail at the upper end of a cable hang-off arrangement 1 for an embodiment of the inventive wind turbine installation 2, and indicates how the horizontal sections 10H of three tubular enclosures may be arranged in or on the elevated support 21. Here, the ends of the horizontal

sections 10H are arranged in a suitable opening in a side wall 210 of the transition piece 21, and can be secured to the side wall 210 by means of flanges, for example, or by any other suitable mounting means. The diagram also shows an export cable 3 in relation to its tubular enclosure 10. This might be an export cable for electrical connection between the wind turbine generator and a substation of a wind farm.

The previous diagrams have indicated that three tubular enclosures may be provided. In such an embodiment, one tubular enclosure can be used for an export cable (for connecting the wind turbine to the grid) , and two tubular enclosures can be used for cable connections to neighbouring wind turbines of a wind farm. Fig. 5 illustrates a possible scenario in which an array of wind turbines 2 is connected as a wind farm. The diagram only shows a few wind turbines 2 in one row of an array, but of course any size array is

possible. The number of tubular enclosures required will depend on how a particular wind turbine 2 is to be connected. Any wind turbine that has two neighbours will be equipped with a cable hang-off arrangement 1 that has three tubular enclosures. Any wind turbine at an outer end of the array may only need a cable hang-off arrangement 1 with two tubular enclosures, for example, one for the export cable and one for connection to its single neighbouring wind turbine. Of course, a stand-alone wind turbine that is not part of an array or a wind farm would only need one tubular enclosure for its export cable. The subsea links 4 between facilities 2 can be laid on the seabed 7 or buried under the seabed 7. In one approach, empty flexible tubes are first laid on the seabed, and the transmission cables are then pushed or pulled through . Fig. 6 shows a further embodiment of the inventive cable hang-off arrangement 1. Here, the vertical sections 10V of several tubular enclosures 10 are further enclosed by a protective barrel 15 or outer pipe section 15. In this exemplary embodiment, the barrel 15 terminates at an "ice cone" which serves to prevent damage when ice 8 forms on the surface of the water. This diagram also indicates a possible arrangement for end connectors 13, showing that these can diverge in suitable directions, for example one end connector 13 is oriented in the direction of a sub-station, and the other two end connectors 13 are oriented in the directions of two neighbouring wind turbines.

Fig. 7 shows a further embodiment of the inventive cable hang-off arrangement 1. Here, a single vertical section 10V is used. To connect to one or more curved sections IOC, the single vertical section 10V comprises a suitable "lid" 14 with one or more openings to accommodate the transmission cable arrangements of one or more tubular enclosures 10.

Here, two such tubular enclosures 10 are shown. A suitable number of end connectors 13 can be attached to a similar "lid" at the base of the single vertical section 10V to connect to sea pipes laid on the seabed.

Although the present invention has been disclosed in the form of preferred embodiments and variations thereon, it will be understood that numerous additional modifications and

variations could be made thereto without departing from the scope of the invention.

For the sake of clarity, it is to be understood that the use of "a" or "an" throughout this application does not exclude a plurality, and "comprising" does not exclude other steps or elements .