Installing the world’s deepest undersea cable

Italian cable manufacturing and installation services company Prysmian has completed the installation of a subsea cable at a depth of 2,150 m, a new record in the field.

The 500 kV HVDC MI cable test was successfully conducted by manufacturer and service provider Prysmian. According to the company, this is the first time that HVDC cables have been laid at such a great depth, setting a new standard in the market, Interesting Engineering July 9 news.

The cable installation is part of a new power corridor in the central Mediterranean, planned to be 970 km long and have a capacity of 1,000 MW. The project, called the Tyrrhenian Link, will connect Sicily with Sardinia and the Italian peninsula via a double undersea cable. The cable is made of composite materials based on high modulus elastic (HMPE) fibres, a new generation of power transmission cable technology. HMPE is a fibre with low elongation and high strength-to-weight ratio, and is resistant to fatigue and abrasion.

The subsea cables in the project are located at a depth of more than 2,000 m, the deepest ever reached by an electric cable. Laying the cable at such a great depth is possible thanks to an advanced jacketing solution that is 50% lighter than steel in the water. Prysmian’s modern Leonardo da Vinci cable-laying vessel facilitated the work. According to the company, numerous laboratory tests contributed to the success of the trial. Previously, the ultra-light jacketing technology was used in 2019 for the Evia – Andros – Tinos connection line at a depth of 550 m.

Renewable energy production such as wind and solar continues to grow in Sicily, Sardinia and Campania. The $1.84 billion Tyrrhenian Link interconnection project is designed to increase electricity exchange capacity, support renewable energy development and improve grid reliability. The project consists of two main parts. The eastern part stretches 490 km connecting Fiumetorto in Termini Imerese, Sicily, with Torre Tuscia Magazzeno near Battipaglia, Campania. Meanwhile, the western part, approximately 480 km long, connects Fiumetorto with Terra Mala in Sardinia. In addition, Prysmian will expand its energy hub in the Mediterranean by designing, supplying and installing more than 1,500 km of underwater cables to facilitate electricity exchange between Sardinia, Sicily and Campania.

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