The MORE team of the Centre for Marine and Environmental Research (CIMA) from the University of Algarve is finalizing preparations for the deployment of the scaled Evopod tidal energy unit as part of the SCORE project.
The general objective of SCORE is to examine the deployment of a small-scale tidal current turbine, the Evopod E1, in a shallow-water estuarine environment. The project will look at both the impacts of the turbine on its environment and the effects of the flow conditions on the turbine.
The goal of real-sea deployment at Ria Formosa, a coastal lagoon located in the south of Portugal, is to validate the numerical modelling tool. The tool will be used to analyze different extraction schemes and predict short to long term impacts of energy extraction on shallow environments.
Over the past several months, the MORE team has been working on investigating and preparing the deployment site.
The work included collecting high detail 3D currents velocity components using both boat mounted and bottom mounted ADCPs, and measuring the ambient base noise prior the prototype operation using an autonomous hydrophone.
The team has also performed diving operations, ROV and side scan surveys of the area to identify marine habitats at the deployment site and evaluate potential impacts of installation, operation and decommissioning.
In addition, the MORE team was engaged in setting up, calibrating and validating an innovative estuary scale modelling tool using DELFT3D Flow model.
(Photos by CIMA-MORE)
The researchers plan to incorporate more devices on the hydro-morphodynamic model, and perform simulations using different hydrodynamic settings in order to define optimal solutions for energy extraction, and evaluate its impacts.
These simulation tests will produce data that will be used for the improvement of the prototype design and mooring structure, and enable the optimization of tidal array schemes, according to MORE.
The 1:10 scale Evopod E1 unit, leased by the University of Algarve from the UK-based tidal energy developer Oceanflow Energy, is expected to be deployed on June 8, 2017, the MORE team said.
Finally, a socio-economic report will be produced offering guidelines for tidal energy converter implementation projects on similar coastal lagoons and estuarine systems worldwide, analyzing scenarios based on energy extraction schemes.
The report will also encompass cost-benefit analysis on tidal energy extraction for community scale projects including financial analysis, economic analysis and risk assessment.
Installation, operation and maintenance costs will be estimated as well as the possible socio-economic impacts, such as job creation, increase of scientific activities related to industry.
The report will also quantify the direct and indirect benefits of establishing Ria Formosa as a test case site for testing tidal energy devices.
The project officially began on April 1, 2016, and will run for 36 months.