AUV hunts best location for tidal energy turbines

Two research projects concerned with pinpointing the best location for tidal energy turbines and mapping the sea floor are currently on their way in Australia.

For the first project, Dr Alex Forrest deployed the autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) UBC-Gavia to map the seafloor underneath the Batman Bridge in Launceston’s Tamar River and at Swan Island near Musselroe Bay, North-East Tasmania.

These two sites have been identified as key areas for potential tidal energy recovery.

“Underwater turbines need to be aligned with the tidal flow to maximise the return of energy, so if you have a detailed picture of what the site looks like you can maximise the efficiency of your turbine,” Forrest said.

The two deployments have been deemed successful with the data retrieved clearly showing the areas of highest potential tidal turbines within the surveyed areas, according to Australian Maritime College.

The second project led by Dr Vanessa Lucieer from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies focused on mapping the bathymetry of the seafloor around aquaculture facilities.

The projects were funded by the University of Tasmania’s research enhancement scheme.

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Image: Australian Maritime College

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