Explore how TAST is used in marine renewable applications

Marine renewable energy projects have the potential to come into conflict with conservation objectives – both during their construction and throughout their operational lifecycle of the project. As the renewable energy sector continues to expand, there is a real and growing need to mitigate this conflict between human activity and sea life.

Conventional acoustic deterrent devices (ADDs) employed to deter animals typically operate at high duty cycles, producing harmful noise pollution that can inflict hearing damage on animals. In contrast, Targeted Acoustic Startle Technology (TAST) offers a novel approach to solving this conflict. By utilizing duty cycles roughly one order of magnitude lower than current commercial devices, TAST induces reliable avoidance responses in target species – without causing harm. As an animal enters the TAST area, its startle reflex is activated, and the animal instinctively moves away from the installation. By repeatedly triggering avoidance responses, TAST can then guide the animal’s movement around the installation.

TAST is a flexible system that employs source level adjustments to achieve specific deterrence ranges for target species. By using variable startle signaling within different frequency bands, TAST can exploit differences in hearing systems of species-specific marine mammals to achieve target-specific movement controls. To date, GenusWave has already developed distinct startle signals for seals, porpoise and dolphins – each ready for implementation in their respective applications and capable of deterring specific sets of animals. Through our collaboration with the University of St Andrews, experiments have been conducted with seals, porpoises (ongoing), bottlenose dolphins and false killer whales.

Mitigating the risk of hearing damage

Construction of marine installations, such as wind farms and tidal turbines, involves pile-driving – a process that creates impulsive noise at high sound pressure levels. This noise has the potential to damage the hearing system of marine mammals in the vicinity of the site. By enabling time-limited movement control of marine mammals, TAST offers an environmentally friendly solution. The GenusWave startle system can be used either in single or multi-unit mode, allowing units to be deployed from a vessel or simply floating on the water’s surface. The system can be controlled remotely via a radio-link.

Mitigating collision risk around tidal turbine installations

The rotors of tidal turbines are a source of collision risk for marine mammals. Left unchecked, marine mammal collision risk can result in regulatory delays of new project launches. GenusWave’s TurbineSafeTM helps mitigate collision risk through movement controls tailored to the project’s installation needs during both the planning and operational phases. The system can be operated in single or multi-unit mode, based on the required coverage and installation type.

GenusWave also offers remote update and interface capability, allowing it to operate in conjunction with existing marine mammal monitoring technologies; sound emissions can potentially be triggered by a confirmed detection of marine mammals. By storing different startle signals on the inbound memory, the system’s parameters can be set for specific target species or other requirements within the target area.

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