Tritech International Ltd leads the move into alternative energies by integrating their sonars on the world's largest ever commercial, tidal energy convertor. Tritech sonars will be in place to help observe the environmental impact of SeaGen which will be continuously monitored throughout the five year trial period.
Richard Marsh, Managing Director of Tritech said: "Offshore tidal energy is eminently more sensible than wind farms. Water is 800 times denser than air, so for the same size and flows, a water turbine produces 800 times the power of a wind turbine. What's more we can be sure of two tides a day, whereas the wind is hopelessly random. We are delighted to be part of this project and helping to ensure that tidal generators do not endanger marine mammals."
With the aim of providing real-time sub-surface imagery, the Sea Mammal Research Unit Ltd (SMRU) conducted trials of commercially available sonars. The trials determined the sonar's potential to detect and track marine mammals around tidal turbines and other types of offshore development involving marine renewable energy.
The testing process involved trials of several sonar products with Tritech's Super SeaKing DST giving the best results. Dr Gordon Hastie, Senior Research Scientist at SMRU spoke of the trials and the performance of Tritech's Super SeaKing DST in his final report:
"The most efficient system for detecting small marine mammals, in terms of range, coverage and user consistency will be deployed on the SeaGen tidal turbine in Strangford Lough when it is installed and commissioned over the next few weeks and then into commercial operation. The results from this study suggest that this would be the Tritech Super SeaKing".
The SeaGen's impact on wildlife and the environment is expected to be small, while retaining its potential to generate electricity to power over 1,000 homes. SeaGen will start the race in sourcing alternative tidal energies, making its launch a landmark in British energy history, producing electricity for the first time from our shores.
Leading Tidal Energy Company, Marine Current Turbines Ltd (MCT) is planning the imminent installation of the 1.2MW SeaGen in Northern Ireland's Strangford Lough. For more information on the project, please visit www.seageneration.co.uk.