Nova Scotia funds tidal monitoring projects

Two collaborative research projects run by industry and academic researchers have received funding to develop new environmental monitoring technologies for tidal energy applications.

The projects were selected for funding through a joint research competition launched late in 2016 by the Offshore Energy Research Association of Nova Scotia (OERA), the Nova Scotia Department of Energy, and Innovacorp.

The project winners are Open Seas Instrumentation, which was awarded $135,000, and JASCO Applied Sciences, which scooped $65,000 in funding.

The projects’ combined research value is close to $500,000, according to OERA, with the balance of research costs sourced from partner contributions.

The research results are expected to lead to greater understanding of the complex relationships between tidal energy development and the biological and physical ocean environment.

Stephen Dempsey, Executive Director of OERA, said: “The key to developing a sustainable and successful tidal energy industry in Nova Scotia is understanding how turbines interact with the environment in the Bay of Fundy.

“These research projects will not only help us enhance how we monitor the environment near an operating turbine, but is expected to bring technology innovation to the sector, that is developed here and exported abroad.”

The Open Seas project focuses on the redesign of a subsea platform for monitoring movement and behavior of marine life close to the turbine.

The redesign integrates an adjustable structure into the FORCE FAST-2 (Fundy Advanced Sensor Technology) platform so that sensors can collect data from a wide range of viewing perspectives including the face of the turbine, OERA said.

Project partners are the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC), Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE), Acadia University, DSA, and Ocean Moor Technical Services. Testing will take place in the Minas Passage with project completion set for June 2017.

The JASCO project will seek to develop a long-term monitoring program to measure how sound propagates in turbulent waters to increase the understanding of impacts these conditions have on the ability to acoustically detect marine life.

The proposed work will involve the novel integration of different hydrophones and sensor technologies, with testing to be conducted in the Bay of Fundy, according to OERA.

Project partners are Dalhousie University, and Luna Ocean Consulting, and the project completion is set for August 2018.

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