Scotland's EMEC developing new tidal energy monitoring system

Orkney Map

The European Marine Energy Centre has been awarded a share of the Scottish Government's Marine Renewables Commercialisation Fund (MRCF) which will be used to further the development of an "integrated site characterization and measurement platform".

EMEC said the support of the MRCF Array Technology Innovation Programme (ATIP) will enable the Orkney-based research group to "develop, test, operate and validate their bespoke Integrated Marine Energy Measurement Platform".

The platform is a seabed "pod" designed to measure a number of parameters in tidal flows, which will provide information about potential interactions between marine energy devices and marine wildlife.

"Data learnings from this project will be important to better understand site characteristics and marine mammal interactions with devices in tidal flows," said Simon Robertson, wave and tidal technology acceleration manager at the Carbon Trust. "These are important considerations for reducing the costs and risks of marine energy and bringing the sector a step closer to commercialization."

The pod will combine a number of onshore and offshore components, including active sonar; an acoustic doppler profiler; hydrophones; conductivity, temperature, density and turbidity sensors; marine radar; a met station; and a vessel tracking system.

Measurements made will include current profiles, device noise output, interactions with marine mammals and diving birds, conductivity, turbidity, temperature, density and surface height.

"This project brings together a range of cutting edge and more standard technologies which, for the first time, have been configured together to provide an uninterrupted data set," EMEC research director Jennifer Norris said.

The project builds on an initial prototype deployed in 2012, EMEC said, in order to upgrade the pod and "integrate the data streams to develop a pre-commercial demonstration system".

"The EMEC tidal site is subject to peak spring tides of up to four meters per second -- very challenging tidal flows which are notoriously difficult to work in -- so there have been various challenges to overcome in the design, build, operation and deployment of the pod," Norris said.

HydroWorld.com reportged that EMEC's managing director, Neil Kermode, was honored by Scottish Renewables for his contribution to the renewable energy industry toward the end of last year.

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