The Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy (FORCE) has unveiled two advanced underwater monitoring platforms, now in their final stages of testing in Dartmouth before sea trials in the Bay of Fundy.
“To harness the enormous power of the Bay of Fundy responsibly, we have to understand it,” said FORCE general manager Tony Wright. “We’ve built two subsea instrument platforms that will give us a clearer, moment-by-moment picture of what’s happening under the water.”
The Fundy Advanced Sensor Technology (FAST) platforms are recoverable instrument platforms designed to monitor and characterize the FORCE site. Using a variety of onboard sensing equipment, the platforms enable real-time data from the Minas Passage, including:
- currents and turbulence
- marine life activity
- noise levels
- seabed stability
FORCE platform manager Simon Melrose said: “The platforms help take ocean monitoring to the next level, built by local companies with world class expertise in ocean technology – proving Canada has the skills to lead this industry.”
The smaller platform, FAST-1, weighs 650 kilograms and measures 3-metres in length and is designed for subsea data cable connection, enabling access to real-time data from the Minas Passage. FAST-1 will be transported to the FORCE site shortly to begin sea trials. FAST-2, at 4.5-tons and 4-metres in length, is designed for more frequent deployment and recovery to enable instrument testing, and will begin trials later this year.
The platforms are part of a $6.8 million FAST program that has supported FORCE efforts to better understand the Minas Passage. This has included subsea data collection, subsea data cable installation, shore-based radar and meteorological equipment, as well as platform fabrication, instrumentation, and deployment. FAST is supported by Encana Corporation, Natural Resources Canada, and FORCE developers.
Reliable site data is critical to all aspects of in-stream tidal energy development, including the design, installation, and maintenance of turbines, as well as understanding and measuring any effects on the marine ecosystem.