Innovation Exchange challenge: Subsea Mattress Sustainable Ties

This challenge seeks sustainable, durable, high-load ties for seabed subsea concrete ‘mattresses’ which are used to protect undersea cables.

Opportunity Details


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Successful applicants will be able to pitch their technology and business to the Challenge Holder with a view to undertaking collaborative trials using their resources. Successful trials can lead to adoption of the technology by the Challenge Holder through a collaborative business model with the potential for a wider rollout into related applications.

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he Challenge Holder is a high growth innovative SME that provides carbon-neutral bioremediation based marine products including artificial reefs, coastal defences, subsea mattresses and scour protection.  These utilise a sustainable cement free concrete with high waste stream content.

Subsea mattresses are used to protect seabed cables from trawl nets and anchors; they comprise a grid of concrete blocks that are linked by a flexible rope to allow them to articulate and provide lifting points for deployment and recovery at end of use.  A typical subsea mattress is circa 6m x 3m comprising some 165 discrete blocks connected together with about 150m of cable for every mattress.

The Challenge Holder currently uses 13mm steel wire rope that can suffer corrosion; various commercial natural fibre ropes have been trialled with low success due to durability.  A design life of 20 years is required, allowing for recovery of the subsea mattress at end of design life.

The Challenge

The Challenge Holder requires better ways of connecting the cubes to form the mattress, key requirements being:

  • Entirely compatible and not deleterious to the marine environment
  • Plastics, polymers, hydrocarbon free
  • 20 years design life
  • Of particular interest are materials for different means of attaching the cubes to form the mattress, and/or means of preventing corrosion of the steel wire rope

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