EcoSPRAY to Help Study Moored Floating Structures

Dynamic Systems Analysis (DSA) has led the launch of the EcoSPRAY, a marine structure designed to gather data to verify the behaviour of floating tidal energy platforms and their moorings in high-energy turbulent tidal flows.

The platform has been deployed in Grand Passage between Freeport and Westport, NS in the Outer Bay of Fundy.

The work is part of a Natural Resource Canada ecoEnergy Innovation Initiative (NRCan ecoEII) funded project that is helping to reduce the cost of instream tidal energy through the development of comprehensive site assessment methods and technologies. The project is led by Dr. Richard Karsten of Acadia University and focuses on tidal energy site assessment using numerical models and innovative oceanographic monitoring methods.

Tidal power generation projects are developed to effectively harness high-energy tidal flows while targeting cost-effective maintenance and minimal environmental impact. It is important to understand the effects of wind, current, and waves on dynamic platform motion and mooring systems in early stage engineering design of the projects.

The EcoSPRAY platform was collaboratively designed and built by DSA, Fundy Tidal, and local suppliers Clare Machine Works (Meteghan, NS) and Bear River Plastics (Cornwallis, NS). The experiment includes equipment to measure motion, mooring line loads, wind speeds, tidal currents, and wave conditions. The platform is equipped with a drag plate to simulate the thrust created by an underwater turbine.

“Large scale multi-megawatt projects using floating platforms are being discussed in the emerging tidal industry for the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia. Expertise and experience with the deployment of these systems, the longevity and loading of their moorings, and characterization of the environment are needed to ensure the success of the projects. This test is being used to generate critical validation data for the tidal energy industry, which it can use to move forward with reduced risk.” says Dean Steinke, co-founder and Director of Operations at Dynamic Systems Analysis.

Project partners hope that the platform can be used for future research into all aspects of tidal energy, including: environmental monitoring, marine mammal observation and ocean engineering.

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