Canada funds five projects to tackle tidal knowledge gaps

Illustration (Photo: FORCE)

The Offshore Energy Research Association of Nova Scotia (OERA) has awarded C$1.25 million in support of five collaborative research projects aimed at addressing knowledge gaps and challenges associated with tidal energy development in Canada.

The projects were funded under the OERA research call ‘Technology Research and Innovation to Support the Canadian In-stream Tidal Energy Sector’.

The call targeted projects that address fundamental knowledge gaps impacting the Canadian tidal energy sector under three broad areas: Environmental Effects Monitoring, Marine Operations, and Cost Reduction Technologies.

Kim Rudd, Parliamentary Secretary to Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, said: “The tidal energy sector has enormous potential to contribute to the growth of the low-carbon economy in Canada. The government of Canada is working with sector stakeholders and investing in not only tidal technology development, but research to address issues fundamental to the long-term viability of the industry, including environmental impacts and operations in harsh marine environments.”

The five selected projects include the collaboration between Acadia University and VEMCO Nova Scotia that will see the testing of innovative acoustic fish tracking technology to study fish distributions and movements in the Minas Passage. The data will provide information critical to calculating potential turbine interaction and effects on different fish species at the individual and population level, OERA said.

The second project funded is the one run by the Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy (FORCE), in collaboration with Acadia University, Kongsberg Marine, University of Maine, and ASL Environmental. The organizations will integrate overlapping hydro-acoustic technologies to predict fish interactions with in-stream tidal turbines, leading to a more advanced environmental monitoring technique for sector-wide use.

Dynamic Systems Analysis in collaboration with FORCE, Dalhousie University, Acadia University, Scotrenewables Tidal Power and Tocardo Tidal Turbines, has secured funding to conduct full-scale testing to investigate corrosion, wear, fatigue, and vibration of moorings and cables. The project’s outputs will lead to improvements in marine operations in turbulent tidal flows, according to OERA.

Nova Scotia Community College is leading the fourth project that secured the funding through this call, in collaboration with DSA, Dominion Diving and AML Oceanographic. The researchers will conduct a series of field trials with the objective of augmenting ROV operational capacity and efficiency to enhance marine operations in high flow tidal environments.

The last project involves the collaboration between Acadia University, University of New Brunswick, Dalhousie University and Luna Ocean Consulting. The project team will use an innovative suite of mobile measurement devices and modeling techniques to complete a comprehensive characterization of turbulence in the Minas Passage.

The results are expected to have important implications on turbine performance and durability optimization.

All projects considered for funding required a marine testing and demonstration phase as part of their work plans, OERA said.

The funding includes C$1 million from Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) with the Nova Scotia Department of Energy and OERA each contributing C$125,000, totaling to C$1.25 million ($983,000).

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