FORCE, Nortek Scientific introduce new tool for tidal energy developers

A new instrument designed to provide high-resolution, real-time measurements of turbulent water flow at turbine hub height will make it easier for marine energy developers, researchers say.

Called the “Vectron”, the instrument was developed by the Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy (FORCE) in partnership with Nortek Scientific.

Vectron is the first tool of its kind in the world, FORCE said, and will be critical to understanding tidal turbine performance as it allows users to capture accurate measurements of turbulence at specific heights.

“The Vectron gives turbine developers the first true understanding of the unique tidal regime they must design for, vastly improving their odds of successful and efficient operation,” FORCE Director of Marine Operations Tony Wright said.

The FORCE test site — located in Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy — has a tidal flow equaling more than 14 billion tonnes of water at speeds exceeding five meters per second. Understanding the environment is critical to turbine design, the group said, as it will allow designers to unlock the bay’s potential.

“The Vectron could become a critical piece of the puzzle in developing tidal energy sites not only for the Bay of Fundy but around the world,” Siemens Hydro and Ocean Vice President Kai Koelmel said. “The value and quality of the turbulence data it can provide tidal turbine designers will be unmatched.”

The device will be deployed on FORCE’s Fundy Advanced Sensor Technology (FAST) platform, which is designed to monitor and characterize the site using onboard equipment.

Before the Vectron, FORCE said most tidal speed measurements have been taken using acoustic Doppler current systems.

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