Photo: Illustration/Verdant Power's tidal energy turbines (Courtesy of Verdant Power9

IEC releases noise measuring standard for marine energy industry

International Electrotechnical Commission’s (IEC’s) technical committee for marine energy conversion systems (IEC TC 114) has published a new specification designed to help marine energy industry with acoustic characterization measurements.

Illustration/Verdant Power's tidal energy turbines (Courtesy of Verdant Power9
Illustration/Verdant Power’s tidal energy turbines (Courtesy of Verdant Power9

The IEC TS 62600-40 standard provides uniform methodologies to ensure consistency and accuracy in the measurement and analysis of acoustical emissions from marine energy converters.

The specification defines two methods for measuring the acoustics produced by the marine energy converters.

In the bottom mounted characterization, a hydrophone (microphone used underwater) is placed at the bottom of the ocean or riverbed, in order to record the sound. In a second method, known as the drifting concept, a hydrophone is deployed from a floating buoy on the water’s surface.

Jonathan Colby, chair of IEC TC 114, said: “Noise is a concern for the industry. With IEC TS 62600-40, we are trying to get ahead of potential problems by defining a common methodology to assess noise characteristics. Specifically, use of standardized noise measurements was one of the central recommendations from the IEA-OES 2020 State of the Science report.

“The specification provides the methodologies needed to accurately characterize noise in high-energy wave and current environments. It is then left to regulators and local jurisdictions to interpret the results and decide whether they are acceptable for their particular ecosystem”.

IEC TS 62600-40 can also be used to help diagnose problems with equipment, according to IEC.

“A developer can detect changes in the sounds made by the system. Often, it can be used as a part of the maintenance or diagnostics to understand performance”, Colby added.