Scottish duo European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) and the International Centre of Island Technology (ICIT) have kicked off a year-long project on how to minimise biofouling impacts on wave and tidal energy.

Funded by NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellowship, the ‘Biofouling in Renewable Energy Environments – Marine’ (BioFREE) project will work with marine energy test sites and technology developers to gather data and formulate expertise on addressing biofouling impacts.

Biofouling, the settlement and growth of organisms on submerged structures, can decrease the efficiency of energy generation and lead to corrosion which can reduce the survivability of marine technologies.

The aim of BioFREE is to increase energy efficiency and device reliability by identifying, assessing and managing fouling organisms located in varying habitats with contrasting organisms and seasons.

BioFREE will also identify and promote the positive impacts wave and tidal can have on the marine environment by exploring mooring systems designed to enhance habitats for certain species.

The field research will be carried out at EMEC’s wave and tidal energy test sites in Orkney in partnership with other test centres including Marine Energy Research and Innovation Centre in Chile and Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Centre in Oregon, USA.

Various arrays of panels populated with anti-fouling coatings will be deployed to develop a standard operating procedure for biofouling monitoring.

ICIT project lead Andrew Want said: “The findings will allow recommendations for test centres and developers to minimise the impacts of fouling, chiefly through selective scheduling of deployments and maintenance.”

Image: Fall of Warness, Orkney (EMEC)