Western Isles academics wrap up wave assessment tech trials

The marine radar (top right) at the Butt of Lewis lighthouse (Photo: UHI)

Researchers from the Lews Castle College have completed a year-long trial of a modified radar system which could provide more accurate wave and current data for tidal and wave energy developers.

The maritime radar system was installed at the Butt of Lewis lighthouse on the northern tip of the Isle of Lewis by a team from Lews Castle College, part of the University of Highlands and Islands (UHI).

The system employs a standard marine radar, used by ships to detect obstacles, which has been modified to maximize the data it can return from the surface of the sea, according to UHI.

The team believes the technology can provide more accurate data across a wider area and is more reliable than traditional measurement methods which use buoys, meaning it could be of great benefit to the offshore sector.

Arne Vögler, a Senior Research Engineer at Lews Castle College UHI who is leading the EU-funded project, said: “Wave data is a critical component of offshore operations. It ensures accurate forecasting for safe operation and maintenance activities and is a fundamental requirement for the emerging wave and tidal sector to characterize the resource. This system could be transformational for many offshore based industries and commercial interest, even at this early stage, is high.”

The project team is now analyzing data from the trial and is exploring options to commercialize the system.

Members are also collaborating with Jaqueline Christmas from the University of Exeter on a related project and have contributed to trials of a similar system at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney with colleagues from North Highland College UHI’s Environmental Research Institute.

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