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Massimo Battaini Executive Vice President Energy Projects of Prysmian Group

Massimo Battaini, Executive Vice President Energy Projects of Prysmian Group, tells us how continuous innovation helped the company build its supremacy in the submarine power cable market and announces that a very exciting pipeline of new products is expected to be launched over the next few years.

The Group’s supremacy in the Submarine business seems to be based largely on its capacity to continuously produce innovation... what does this strength come from?

The technical leadership of Prysmian in the submarine power cable market is supported by three pillars: first, a continuous focus on improving the performance and cost of the products and services we offer, striving to better understand and anticipate the requirements of our customers. Second, the outstanding engineering and scientific skills, not only in our R&D specialists, but also in many of the team members who deal with the day-to-day servicing of customers and projects. Last but not least, we apply appropriate levels of investment in developing, engineering and testing new products.

What could the P-Laser product/ system mean in terms of market share and in which areas?

The P-laser insulation has the right features to lead the HVDC market, as the substitute of both XLPE and Mass Impregnated insulation. P-laser has a higher operational temperature, which allows higher cable rating. Additionally, P-laser has a chemical composition that makes the cables much more robust against the specific difficulties inherent to the DC current. The HVDC market accounts for approximately half of the total submarine power cable market and serves mainly long-distance interconnectors between countries and grid access systems for offshore wind parks.

And what innovation is coming next in the HV field?

We have a very exciting pipeline of new products to be introduced in the market over the next few years. The main focus of our innovation is the increase of the performance of Prysmian submarine cable systems: higher rating, higher voltage, lower losses, longer lengths. Of course, all these extended characteristics cannot compromise the optimisation of the total cost of ownership of the Prysmian submarine systems. Additionally, we believe that the new generation of submarine cable systems will have built-in ‘intelligence’: monitoring and control systems will allow smoother operation, also reducing the risks and costs of maintenance operations.

Unprecedented and unique features
P-Laser uses an in-house developed thermoplastic material – known as HPTE (High Performance Thermoplastic Elastomer) – that permits more efficient cable production with lower environmental impact than traditional XLPE, where the manufacture is performed in a single and continuous process. A key feature of this new insulation technology is that, compared to XLPE, it does not require a chemical reaction during manufacture to achieve the material properties required for the long term electrical integrity of HVDC insulation systems. This feature gives the additional benefit of shorter production times and results in both reduced energy consumption and lower greenhouse gas emissions. P-Laser also boasts unique environmental performances with lower CO2 emissions and fully recyclable materials, while higher electrical performance enables up to a 10% cost reduction in power transmission. The technology is also fully compatible with existing cable and accessory technologies.