One of UK's many renewable energy companies, Tidal Generation Limited, has developed an impeller tidal turbine to produce electrical energy from tidal currents. They contacted Nortek when they wanted to analyze the relationship between incoming currents and produced energy, to understand the effect of waves, and possibly in the future to control the pitch of the turbine blades.
Tidal Generation Ltd wanted to measure the wave height right in front of their newly developed impeller tidal turbine, while the current profile should be reported 35 meters in front of the turbine. Not only that - they did not want anything to be mounted on the seafloor, and they wanted data to be available online.
The ingenious solution designed at Nortek uses the AWAC electronics but not the standard mechanical design. Instead, a peculiar-looking transducer head combined with some extra data processing takes the measurements from two beams tilted 73 degrees from the vertical and generates the full current profile. The vertical beam measures the distance to the surface and this data is used to calculate the wave height using Nortek's Acoustic Surface Tracking (AST) algorithms. The rendering on the left illustrates the transducer and we must admit we think it is sort of cool. Installation is expected later in the spring