The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) has obtained a share of the Marine Renewables Commercialisation Fund (MRCF) from the Scottish Government to develop tidal energy monitoring system.
The funding will enable EMEC to further develop, test, operate and validate their Integrated Marine Energy Measurement Platform - a seabed monitoring pod set to evaluate various parameters in tidal flows, such as at EMEC's Fall of Warness tidal test site, off the island of Eday, in Orkney.
The project aims to provide a method for collecting required information on potential interactions among marine energy devices and some marine wildlife.
It will also help to speed up deployment of commercial-scale wave and tidal stream energy as this project tries to reduce costs and risk linked with marine energy array deployment.
The pod is a combination of onshore and offshore subsea components, along with active sonar, acoustic doppler profiler, hydrophones, conductivity/ temperature/ density/ turbidity sensors, marine radar, met station and a vessel tracking system.
By using the monitoring pod a variety of parameters at the EMEC tidal test site can be measured.
It will measure parameters like current profile, device noise output, device and marine mammal/diving bird interaction, conductivity, turbidity, temperature, density and surface wave height.
The initial prototype deployment in 2012 will be reconsidered, in order to upgrade the pod and integrate the supporting data streams to develop a pre-commercial demonstration system.
The Carbon Trust wave and tidal technology acceleration manager Simon Robertson said that data and lessons from this project will be important to understand site characteristics and marine mammal interactions with devices in tidal flows.
EMEC research director Jennifer Norris said that the project brings together a variety of more standard technologies that have been configured jointly to provide an uninterrupted data set.
Norris said, "The EMEC tidal test site is subject to peak spring tides of up to 4m 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."