Innovation Exchange challenge: Cable Quick Connect and Disconnect

Innovation Exchange seeks to identify innovative solutions for quick connection and disconnection of dynamic cables on floating offshore wind farms.

Opportunity Details


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Successful applicants will be given an opportunity to pitch to the Challenge Holder, and may also receive support from ORE Catapult or Innovate UK Business Connect, support in the development of a prototype or pilot, technical support, event invitations, and collaboration and investment opportunities.

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The Innovation Exchange (iX) initiative is supporting the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult’s Floating Offshore Wind Centre of Excellence (FOW CoE) and its member companies in the offshore wind industry to identify solutions to its innovation needs.

Floating offshore wind

Through the ScotWind leasing round, the UK recently committed to as much as 27.6GW (approximately 1500-3000 turbines) of new offshore wind generating capacity over the next decade, of which 17GW will be floating foundations. Additionally, the Celtic Sea leasing will provide an additional 4GW of floating wind capacity in England and Wales. Globally, the floating offshore wind market is expected to grow to 264GW of installed capacity by 2050 (DNV, 2023).

ORE Catapult Floating Offshore Wind Centre of Excellence

The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult is the UK’s leading innovation centre for offshore wind. It is a membership organisation, hosting memberships to 19 key organisations from industry.  ORE Catapult’s unique facilities, research and engineering capabilities bring together industry and academia and drive innovation.

ORE Catapult has established the Floating Offshore Wind Centre of Excellence (FOW CoE) to develop an internationally recognised initiative to reduce the cost of energy from floating wind. The Centre will accelerate the build-out of floating farms, create opportunities for the UK supply chain, and drive innovations in manufacturing, installation and O&M.

Floating offshore wind turbine cable connection systems and this challenge

Around one thousand dynamic power cables will be required to meet the needs of floating offshore wind turbines (FOWTs) installed in UK waters over the next decade. Each inter-array cable may be required to be connected and disconnected for a few scenarios:

  • Hook-up at the start of life and decommissioning at end of life (1 cycle per 25-30 years)
  • Tow to port for planned maintenance (0 to 1 cycle per 25-30 years)
  • Unplanned disconnection for repair (3 to 5 cycle per 25-30 years)

Connect and disconnect solutions are currently not well developed, are costly, time consuming to perform in an emergency, and can damage the cable system.

While not limiting the technologies from solution providers, it is expected that solutions would consider innovations from some of the following areas:

  • Cable connection and installation methods from fixed offshore wind
  • O&G risers, umbilicals, and mooring connection solutions
  • Rail and transport infrastructure
  • Onshore and aerospace cable solutions

To meet the desired timescale and risks, it is preferred that the proposed solution, or the key part(s) of the solution, has been commercially proven in other sectors or within a test program which includes offshore conditions (for both installation and operation) trials.


Entrants to this competition must be:

  • Established businesses, startups, SMEs or individual entrepreneurs
  • UK based or have the intention to set up a UK base

Rewards & Benefits

Successful applicants will be given an opportunity to pitch to the Challenge Holder. At the discretion of the organisers of the competition, the package may also include:

  • Support from the ORE Catapult or the Innovate UK Business Connect
  • Support in the development of a prototype or pilot
  • Technical support
  • A place in Innovate UK Business Connect or ORE Catapult events
  • A potential business collaboration
  • Investor introductions (if investment is required)

For full functional and technical requirements, visit the Innovation Exchange site at the link below.

Related programme

Innovation Exchange

Innovation Exchange

Innovate UK Innovation Exchange is a cross-sector programme supporting innovation transfer by matching industry challenges to innovative companies from other sectors. It does this by putting large businesses with technical needs in contact with companies who have the right innovative solutions, for faster development of novel solutions.


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