New technology to measure ocean waves and currents with greater accuracy than ever before is being deployed off the Albany coast this week, as part of the new Wave Energy Research Centre, an initiative led by The University of Western Australia.
In partnership with the State Government, this project will place WA at the forefront of marine renewable energy research and technology and increase knowledge and understanding of ocean processes.
Two buoys will collect data on wave height, direction, period and surface current speed, then transmit this data via satellite to the Wave Energy Research Centre, where scientists will analyse it.
UWA Wave Energy Research Centre Chief Investigator Dr Jeff Hansen said it would be the first time detailed wave measurements in the near-shore area out of Albany would be collected using such superior instruments.
“With swell and wind conditions looking favourable this week, the research team will deploy the instruments and use them to observe the marine environment in far more detail than ever before,” Dr Hansen said.
The researchers have collaborated with industry partner Carnegie Clean Energy as part of the State Government funded Albany Wave Energy Project. Their data and ocean models will improve the placement, survivability and performance of Carnegie’s CETO6 wave energy converter device.
The new home for one of the wave buoys is approximately 45 kilometres offshore from the Albany wind farm at Sandpatch, where water depth is around 350 metres. The second wave buoy will bob closer to shore at a depth of 30 metres, at the same location as Carnegie Clean Energy’s wave energy converter device when it is installed.
“While marine renewable energy already enjoys much support in the Great Southern region, keen surfers might get even more excited by the dedicated website that will soon be up and running, making real-time data on wave conditions publicly available,” Dr Hansen said.
The State Government has invested $3.75m in the Wave Energy Research Centre, via the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD). This is part of the overall $19.5 million investment by the State Government in the broader Albany Wave Energy Project.
Jess Reid (UWA Media and Public Relations Advisor) (+61 8) 6488 6876
Dr Wiebke Ebeling (Centre Manager, Wave Energy Research Centre) (+61 8) 9842 0874