A state of the art ocean monitoring buoy powered by wave energy is being tested in Galway Bay.
The test facilities at SmartBay Marine and Renewable Energy test site in Galway Bay offers developers working with cutting edge marine technology a location to trial and monitor their work.
One of the projects currently deployed there is the WASP (Wave power activated Sensor) buoy developed by the Centre for Renewable Energy at Dundalk IT.
This project aims to develop a “low-cost, wave-powered sensor buoy to measure local sea wave conditions.”
“The buoy may also be used as a platform for further sensing equipment, such as air or water quality.”
The prototype buoy, currently in its first phase of development, uses a pressure based method for measuring the conditions at sea, something that has already been proven to work using wave tank scale models.
The buoy uses state-of-the-art sensing, recording and communication equipment, but part of the goal of this project is to create a low-cost alternative to what is commercially available.
Current testing in Galway Bay began in February, and the next stage of the project will involve replacing the buoy’s current instruments with low-cost, low-power alternatives.
The third phase of this project will bring the renewable energy elements into effect as it is intended to use air pressure to drive a pneumatic turbine to generate electrical power to recharge the on-board batteries.
The SmartBay test site, located 1.5km off the coast of Spiddal in Galway Bay, is Ireland’s national marine and renewable energy test and demonstration facility.
It is used by the Marine Institute and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland to develop and test prototype offshore energy solutions including wind, wave, and tidal energy projects.