Wave Hub baseline study

Lead Research Organisation: University of Plymouth
Department Name: Sch of Marine Science & Engineering


This proposal has been designed to fill urgent scientific gaps in relation to baseline studies in renewable energy test sites and to take advantage of the unique opportunity presented by the development of the Wave Hub demonstrator site. While this proposal will benefit from the simultaneous characterisation of other ecosystem components by PRIMaRE scientists, we will complement current efforts by obtaining research quality data for the oceanographic characteristics of the site. It is essential to obtain this information prior to deployment of infrastructure if we are to understand the impact of arrays of wave devices together with the Wave Hub infrastructure. This opportunity has already been lost at other wave energy device testing sites (such as at EMEC, Orkney), because devices, together with infrastructure such as moorings and cabling have already been installed. We will deploy multidisciplanry field teams in time to obtain high quality, spatially resolved field data ahead of the Wave Hub construction. For this, we have therefore suggested a modest budget to ensure that this information is collected from August 2010 to August 2011. Our approach will be to obtain: (i) Detailed oceanographic study at the Wave Hub site and surrounds - covering the whole range of physical, chemical and biological parameters before the deployment of Wave Hub infrastructure and wave energy devices. (ii) Ensure data acquisition in time and space to allow development of physical and ecosystem models at scales relevant to wave arrays. Ultimately models will allow us to make predictive assessments of the extent, timescales and intensity of ecosystem impacts and perturbation resulting from implementation of wave energy arrays. (iii) Engagement of environmental economists to ensure these same data can be used to develop economic valuation estimates of critical life supporting ecosystem services at scales appropriate to arrays of wave devices for comparison with other uses of marine space. This proposal is also driven by the need to expand the science capability and resources over the next five years to address the questions which have arisen directly in respect of marine renewable energy development and sustainable use of marine resources. Hence, many of the activities are also viewed as capacity building and skill development within PML-PRIMaRE that are pivotal to address the scientific requirements of the renewable energy sector.


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Description As a result of this funding we have improved our understanding of the southern Celtic Sea which encompasses the north Cornwall and Devon coasts and essentially is impacted by the development of the WaveHub 10 km offshore of St. Ives. The WaveHub has the potential to impact on regional dynamics as a direct result of the extraction of wave energy. In order to assess the extent to which this is the case, it was crucial to establish a picture of the regional oceanography before energy extraction occurs. As devices have begun to be deployed, we have achieved this in a particularly difficult region to undertake research at sea due to inhospitable conditions.
Exploitation Route Our findings are of direct relevance to the device developers who are deploying their wave energy convertors at the WaveHub. As we publish our findings over the next couple of years, we will engage with WaveHub (with who we already have close connections through PRIMARe) to disseminate our findings to the marine renewable energy community.
Sectors Energy,Environment,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism

Title Wave Hub baseline dataset 
Description A comprehensive data set of physical and biological variables were collected during fieldwork at the WaveHub site in the southern Celtic Sea during May 2012. Among the data collected were 4 complete semidiurnal tidal microstructure stations during which dissipation rates of turbulent kinetic energy and related variables were repeatedly measured. An off-shore transect that passed through the Wave Hub site was conducted during which vertical CTD profiles were completed and water samples collected. Subsequent analysis of the water samples estimated the nutrient concentration and zooplankton abundance. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The impact will more completely realised as we publish the results from this study (currently under preparation) and provide essential information regarding the southern Celtic Sea in the vicinity of the WaveHub. 
Description Memorandum of Understanding 
Organisation Plymouth Marine Laboratory
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The MoU signed in February 2014 between Plymouth University and Plymouth Marine Laboratory arose as a result of the collaboration between a number of scientists. The highlighted project was stated as the work conducted at WaveHub by Hosegood and Torres, completed in the Wavehub Baseline Monitoring grant and Hosegood's NI grant, Assessing the sensitivity of marginally stratified shelf seas in a changing climate. Through our work in this area, we have established and consolidated links between the two institutions in an area in which there was previously no exchange. The work was recognised by an invitation to present our work at the formal dinner marking the MoU.
Collaborator Contribution My partners have contributed to the development of the MoU by actively engaging in the collaborative research and providing additional opportunities for researchers and students at Plymouth University by making available the output from the FVCOM numerical model, developed at PML with the aim of improving understanding of the region. The model complements the in-situ observations made during the two projects and substantially enhances our ability to gain insight into the regional dynamics and further impacts of marine renewables.
Impact Outcomes are to include future funding proposals and are currently being discussed. Hosegood and Torres submitted a paper based on Torres' work on the NERC ICON project, and constitutes a collaboration that would not have arisen had this partnership not been formalised. The paper is in review but should shortly be accepted. The collaboration is multidisciplinary and encompasses physics, biogeochemistry and air-sea gas exchange.
Start Year 2010