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Under a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Water Power Technologies Office, science and engineering company Integral Consulting Inc. (Integral) is developing novel acoustic monitoring tools for wave and tidal energy projects.

At present, very little is known about the acoustical characteristics of wave and current energy devices, including the potential impact on the marine soundscape. The goal for Integral is to develop tools to characterize device and environmental noise in the vicinity of offshore renewable energy projects. To address these limitations, Integral is leveraging a new Spotter buoy platform developed by Spoondrift and supported in part by Integral’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) funding, to enable wave characterization around wave energy devices. The ARPA-E funded buoy is being expanded upon to develop a cost-effective, compact array of sensors that will reduce the time and cost of taking extended measurements of noise produced by marine and hydrokinetic devices. The directional gains associated with an array of sensors will help pinpoint the location of noise sources, and help quantify the specific impact of each source.

The custom acoustic measurement platform will comprise a novel array of sensors capable of providing near real-time estimates of key acoustic metrics such as peak pressure levels, signal to noise ratio, and background noise levels along with location estimates of sound sources. The system will also monitor marine mammal and other broadband anthropogenic sounds in the vicinity of ocean energy devices. The DOE acoustics award will support noise characterization of wave energy converters to enable future propagation modeling and the remote detection of device modes of operation. For more information, click here.

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