Innovation Challenge

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Innovation Challenge – Tracking underwater species behaviour and movements in and around tidal stream turbines.

Challenger: This challenge is sponsored by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

Background: Whilst very few collisions have ever been recorded between underwater species (birds, mammals or fish) and tidal turbine blades, still not enough is known about these interactions. The consenting and licensing processes for installation of tidal stream projects are, as a result, onerous and currently represent a major barrier to commercialisation. Prior to consenting, project developers must collect a large amount of baseline data on abundances and behaviours, which is time consuming and expensive. Post deployment observations must continue to ensure that the devices are not damaging their environment.

The Challenge:  This challenge is two-fold – we need to gather data more efficiently, and we need to gather better data. The data we gather must allow us to understand the species’ behaviour better – if they avoid blade impacts, then why and how? If they leave the area, where do they go? How far away from the turbine is their behaviour altered, and what is the impact of that?

Technology Scope:  This is a broad challenge, and innovations could come from a range of technology areas. While not wanting to limit the scope in any way, is expected that solutions would involve innovations in some of the following areas:
• Sensors and electronic devices (including battery or other energy storage systems).
• Data and image processing.
• Robotics and autonomous systems.

For more information: MEECE challenge statement

Challenge Timescale

  • Launch of the Competition: 16th June 2021
  • Deadline for applications: 11th August 2021
  • Selection and notification of successful innovations: 8th September 2021.