Milestone Reached for Harnessing Energy from the Ocean

Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Ocean Energy Technology (COET) has deployed four Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCP) moorings in the Atlantic Ocean off the east coast of Florida ranging from approximately 7.8 kilometers (4.9 miles) to 35.9 kilometers (22.3 miles) from Dania Beach at depths of 221 meters (725 feet) to 645 meters (2,116 feet). The deployment of the ADCPs will enable researchers at FAU to gather baseline information which is needed to characterize in detail the spatial and temporal variability of the Gulf Stream, the most energy dense ocean current, for its potential use as an abundant renewable energy source.

FAU’s Center for Ocean Energy Technology deploys acoustic doppler current profilers to monitor South Florida ocean currents

“The deployment of the ADCPs is a major milestone for Florida Atlantic University, and our research and development efforts to utilize energy from the Gulf Stream as a source of renewable energy,” said FAU President Frank T. Brogan. “We are very proud of our researchers at the Center for Ocean Energy Technology, and our academic, industry and government partners for helping us move closer to providing a better quality of life for Florida’s citizens and beyond.”

ADCPs use high-frequency, low-power sonar to measure the water velocity throughout the water column at single locations every 30 minutes. The ADCPs are intended to remain deployed for up to eight months.

The deployment of the ADCPs is the first step in the COET’s plans to create a National Open-ocean Energy Laboratory (NOEL) that will involve a permanent infrastructure offshore of South Florida to serve as an integrated, standardized testing and research range for advanced marine and hydrokinetic devices. The development of NOEL is planned in three major phases, with Phase 1 being the deployment of the ADCPs. The progression of the phased development at the COET is largely driven by permitting procedures and policies. As part of the regulatory approval cycle, the COET received authorization from the Army Corps of Engineers under a nationwide permit to deploy the ADCPs in the Atlantic Ocean. NOEL will provide access to federal and state agencies, technology developers and universities for testing and evaluation of ocean energy systems, from small sub-scale systems to full-scale commercial systems.

“Deployment of the ADCPs will help us to gather baseline data that will guide the subsequent phases and support our near-term science, environmental and resource assessment and technology development,” said Susan Skemp, executive director of the COET at FAU. “Once we have collected and reviewed the data, we plan to share this information with interested government agencies, academic partners and companies.”

Research at the COET covers a broad spectrum of areas which are necessary to enable the development of a sustainable ocean energy industry. The COET is initially focused on characterizing and evaluating available resources offshore in Florida in the form of a real-time instrumented ocean observatory (NOEL). In cooperation with the offshore range, the COET will develop a variety of platforms that will allow technologies to be tested in situ for most of the development phases necessary to build up to commercial implementation. Moreover, the COET is working together with FAU’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, and industry, government and academic partners to develop an integrated system approach towards environmental, ecological, resource and power system assessment, and risk avoidance to ensure that all elements related to harnessing open-ocean access energy research and development are addressed and understood.

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