EMEC’s upgraded monitoring pod takes on tidal turbulence

The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) has redeployed its monitoring pod fitted with innovative turbulence instruments to help measure the impact of turbulence on tidal energy devices.

Prior to deployment, the pod was fitted with a MicroRider turbulence system designed by Rockland Scientific, a Canadian company specializing in marine turbulence.

The sensor system combines standard flow measurement technology (acoustic and electro-magnetic) with novel non-acoustic measurement technology (shear probes), EMEC informed.

The integration the new instruments on the pod was enabled by the InSTREAM (In Situ Turbulence Replication Evaluation And Measurement) project, funded through a transatlantic partnership between the Offshore Energy Research Association of Nova Scotia (OERA), and InnovateUK.

Peter Stern, Vice President of Engineering at Rockland Scientific, said: “The InSTREAM project is addressing the shortcomings of existing measurement instrumentation to allow ‘real-world’ field measurements to be down-translated to tank-scale and vice-versa, providing developers and manufacturers the ability to evaluate the dynamic behaviors of sites and turbine designs at model scale and full-scale.

“The results from this applied research project will address technical challenges that ultimately reduce uncertainties in site design, yield assessments, and device design, reducing operational and economic risk.”

The project is expected to improve the industry’s understanding of turbulence, thus enabling tidal energy developers to optimize design so that technologies can withstand the effects of strong tides and currents.

Led by Rockland Scientific, the InSTREAM project brings together UK-based FloWave, Ocean Array Systems and EMEC, and Canada’s Dalhousie University and Black Rock Tidal Power.

The project is being carried out in both UK and Canadian waters – at EMEC, and at Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE) in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Tests have already been completed at the University of Edinburgh’s FloWave Ocean Energy Research Facility which can replicate tidal characteristics found at EMEC’s Fall of Warness tidal test site in Orkney where the pod has been deployed.

In addition to the turbulence monitoring system, EMEC’s Integrated Monitoring Pod has undergone further improvements since it’s last deployment, with new Valeport current sensors installed alongside a recovery system developed by a local marine contractor, Leask Marine, which eliminates the need for divers operating in a tidal situation, according to EMEC.