National Physical Laboratory

Underwater acoustics for energy

NPL is a world-leading measurement laboratory for underwater acoustics and has been working with the energy sector to measure underwater noise originating from offshore wind and tidal power installations. The measurements are important for monitoring any environmental effects that these man-made structures may have on the natural environment.

Wind turbines
Image courtesy of iStockphoto

One recent example of NPL's work involved measuring underwater noise during the construction of Sherringham Shoal offshore wind farm, located just off the coast of Norfolk, in a collaborative project with Loughborough University and Gardline. To characterise the noise, measurements were made at increasing distances from the site where support piles were being driven into the seabed. The measured data was used as the input to sound propagation models in order to assess the impact of the noise on mammals and fish in the area.

Another project, also with Loughborough University, measured the baseline ambient noise at the European Marine Energy Centre's Billia Croo high energy wave site in Orkney – a purpose-built test facility for developers of wave and tidal energy.

Related case study: Marine mammal detector characterisation

Find out more about NPL's work in Underwater Acoustics and Energy

For more information, please contact Stephen Robinson

Last Updated: 26 Mar 2012
Created: 22 Mar 2012

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