Climate change and the need to manage diminishing fossil fuel reserves are two of the biggest challenges facing modern society. In order to secure the future for ourselves and the generations to follow, it is widely accepted that we must act to reduce energy consumption and substantially cut greenhouse gases. Lowering the cost of renewable energy sources will facilitate the replacement of carbon-intensive energy sources and significantly reduce environmentally harmful emissions. Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics has the technology and expertise to assist in helping renewable energy resources to become more reliable and productive, offering the energy industry the potential for energy to become cheaper as technology and infrastructure improve.


The energy market exerts a constant pressure on reducing costs of offshore renewables and this has led to remarkable reductions in the levelised cost of offshore wind in particular. Fraunhofer CAP are active in three photonics application areas in this sector – wind measurement, cable infrastructure monitoring and underwater photonics. The in house expertise of laser source development, laser instrumentation design and prototyping allows us to play a role in bringing advanced sensing and communications techniques to the field. Exploiting the advantages of optical telecommunications component volumes, complex systems can be miniaturized and costs reduced to deliver laboratory performance in the field. Emerging quantum technology is also beginning to play a role in these areas


Light backscattered from moving aerosols undergoes a shift in frequency known as the Doppler shift, related to the line of sight velocity of the scattering particle. This shift can be measured using narrow linewidth laser sources and is exploited to get a remote measurement of wind speed.

Using pulsed light and accurate time of flight measurement, the range at which the return signal was scattered can be ascertained. This Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) is used in many time of flight sensor applications such as automotive LIDAR, 3D cameras, but being able to measure optical frequency changes in scatter from particles carried by the wind is much more challenging.  Fraunhofer CAP have expertise in the design, build and ruggedisation of wind LIDAR systems through multiple commercial innovation projects.


  • Dual mode Doppler LIDAR for both close and long range use
  • Large aperture, compact beam steering for capturing the whole wind field
  • Miniaturised and energy efficient data acquisition
  • In house LIDAR source development.
  • Analysis optimisation.

Multifunctional Fibre Sensing in Power cables


Estimated 80%* of offshore energy project insurance claims associated with power cables

By 2030 there is expected to be 20,000 km of installed cable in the seas of Northern Europe alone

Historically, individual repair projects have incurred costs between £1M and £20M – fault location is a big factor in this. *

The main challenges are incorrect handling and installation, dynamic umbilicals, anthropogenic interaction with shipping or subsea operations and overloading (‘sweating’) the asset