Sustainable Marine joins forces with Canadian specialists for tidal energy environmental monitoring
Sustainable Marine has engaged a series of Canadian specialists to further support its environmental monitoring efforts, regarded as one of the most ambitious and advanced in the tidal energy industry.
In May 2022, Sustainable Marine became the first company to successfully deliver floating in-stream tidal power to Canada’s grid, harnessing the enormous tidal currents in Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy.
With the support of fish tracking expert Innovasea, Sustainable Marine is now trialing advanced techniques that could further enhance knowledge of the marine ecosystem – including fish tag triangulation, tests of close-range high-resolution imaging sonar and exploration of artificial intelligence techniques for video processing.
The company is also working with a series of other local Canadian specialists including SubC Imaging to test advanced video cameras to enhance image quality.
This new tranche of work builds on Sustainable Marine’s extensive environmental monitoring efforts previously carried out under the Ocean Energy Research Association’s Pathway project to test imaging sonar, surface and bottom mounted echosounders and to automate reporting of data.
Jason Hayman, Sustainable Marine’s CEO, said: “The work we are undertaking will shed further light on fish behavior by determining the location of tagged fish and their proximity or otherwise to our tidal energy platform. We have trialed imaging sonar before but want to see how well high-resolution sonar performs in close proximity as one of the options being explored to support 24-hour monitoring and operation.
“Artificial Intelligence techniques are also being used to assess video data and automate analysis. This will all inform ongoing work as we continue building a robust risk assessment methodology, taking into account fish behavior and distribution as well as the physical properties of turbines, to demonstrate the ultra-low environmental impact of our tidal technology.”
Sustainable Marine has been performing extensive environmental monitoring in the Bay of Fundy since 2018, resulting in more than 2000 hours of video (comprising many tens of terabytes of data). Results show few positive identifications of marine life, other than at slack tide when rotors are stationary, according to the company.
Large volumes of data continue to be collected through Sustainable Marine’s multi-sensor environmental monitoring system, which is attached to the PLAT-I 6.4 platform.
“We have now compiled a number of monitoring reports, produced on a quarterly basis. Our findings are consistent with all other studies which have been completed over the last 15 years involving the deployment and operation of in-stream turbines around the world, that have to date observed no negative interactions or harm to marine life.
“Our hydrophone data has confirmed that our turbines produce low amounts of noise, and neither hearing injury nor significant behavioral disturbance of fish is expected based on the measured sound levels,” added Hayman.
Sustainable Marine is also contributing to Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy’s (FORCE) Risk Assessment Program (RAP) by supporting a fish tagging campaign in the Minas Passage.
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