The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) has successfully recovered its novel Integrated Monitoring Pod following months of transmitting real-time data feeds from the seabed at the Fall of Warness tidal energy test site in Orkney, Scotland.
The first of its kind pre-commercial prototype is connected to the shore via a subsea cable to facilitate 24/7 real-time data collection, and has been delivering live data feeds back to EMEC which can be used by marine energy developers using the site.
The ongoing project is receiving funding from the Scottish Government via the Marine Renewables Commercialisation Fund (MRCF), which is managed by the Carbon Trust.
The bespoke system, designed by EMEC to operate in high velocity tidal flows, integrates a variety of sensors to undertake comprehensive concurrent environmental measurements, providing improved characterisation of high energy marine environments. Making real-time data feeds available to developers will assist in device design, enable more accurate assessment of device performance, and support operations and maintenance planning.
The Pod was deployed in a highly volatile tidal environment and operating in largely unchartered territory led to huge learning curves along the way. It was discovered that certain materials, such as connectors designed for offshore subsea operations, are not necessarily suited to coping with the highly oxygenated and turbulent near-shore environment of this project.
The pod is set up as a plug-and-play prototype with the ability to install additional sensors as required, with future development focused on supporting data collection at commercial marine energy array projects.
EMEC is now analysing the data that has been gathered by the Pod and will provide further results from the project in early 2016, prior to redeployment in spring.
Neil Kermode, EMEC's Managing Director said: "We're keen to collaborate with the industry - particularly developers of sensors and those planning marine energy arrays - to drive the development of this Pod further and ensure that it fits the needs of all end users".