College researchers in Burin, Newfoundland are experimenting with wave energy to develop a pump that could provide water for aquaculture operations inland.
The College of the North Atlantic team is in the fourth year of a research project on wave pump application, development and optimization. Over the course of the project, the team has developed a wave-powered device to pump water to shore for a land-based aquaculture pilot farm.
Along with the original project plan, this multiparty funding has supported the development of the Wave Energy Research Centre (WERC), a field station with significant infrastructure, for long term research and development work. WERC operates out of four buildings on the wharf in Lord’s Cove, in southeastern Newfoundland. The research centre has six mooring sites within 1.5 kilometres of the station permitted under the Canadian Navigable Waters Protection Act. In addition to a weather station, wave data collection and device mooring sites, WERC also houses the Multi-Trophic pilot aquaculture farm, a lab and workshop space. The site is equipped with an emergency back-up power supply sufficient to run the farm, data acquisition equipment and high speed data connections for onsite monitoring and control of equipment.
Wave energy researchers have measured waves as high as 11 metres at 25 metres depth; and six-to-eight-metre waves are not uncommon in winter. When scaled to the full depth, these conditions represent the extremes of environmental conditions experienced in offshore installations. The research team is currently discussing the potential for other projects at the site with a number of institutions and companies.
A remotely operated vehicle (ROV) was purchased through a CCI Applied Research Tools Instruments grant and deployed to increase the ability, effectiveness and safety of performing underwater inspections of the equipment being tested and of the installed instrumentation. This system is small enough to be easily deployed from a local fishing vessel, while powerful enough to be able to operate during non-storm conditions at the site. Additional instrumentation will enhance researchers’ ability to collect data at the site.