Low environmental impact cabling using GPS

Industry Database

Jan de Nul completed 5km of cabling through an environmentally sensitive area in just five days with the help of centimetre-level RTK positioning using Septentrio’s AsteRx-U GPS system.

The Race Bank windfarm, located about 27 km off the Norfolk coast in England, will be home to 91 wind turbines come 2018.

Because cabling from the new windfarm will reach the English coast at a national nature reserve known as The Wash, an important staging post for migratory seabirds, the development had to comply with strict environmental regulations.

For Jan De Nul, the challenge was how to lay underground cables through the salt marshes and mud flats with minimal disturbance to the environment.

The project involved the use of its two large low-impact cable laying machines called Sunfish and Moonfish.

Sunfish, which is able to operate in water up to 16.4 ft deep and lay cable 4.92 ft below ground, laid the cable on the salt marsh section.

When the cable reached the mud flats and a deeper burial depth was required, Moonfish took over. The remotely operated Moonfish can work fully submerged laying cables to a depth of 19.68 ft.

Septentrio’s AsteRx-U GPS system was installed at the top of the two 18m high masts on either side of Moonfish which provided a dual-antenna system locating both the position and heading of the vehicle. This ensured that the position of the cable route could be easily marked out.

When the water got too deep for Moonfish, the cable-laying vessel Isaac Newton took over to lay the final section. The same high-precision GPS system was used to lay the cable in exactly the right position.

Septentrio designs, manufactures and sells high-precision multi-frequency multi-constellation GPS/GNSS equipment for a variety of different applications.

By Anne-Marie Causer

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