URI Engineers to Use New Canal Tidal Test Site

BUZZARDS BAY – The new tidal test site in the Cape Cod Canal will soon be in use.

Engineers from the University of Rhode Island plan to use the new test turbine to gather data on changes in water velocity. URI wants to use an acoustic doppler to gather information to map water velocity variations during a number of tidal cycles.

URI represents the first organization that will work at the facility, which was completed a just few weeks ago.

Before the research can begin, some additional work and testing needs to be completed at the site. New Bedford-based Impact Labs will be installing a data acquisition system in the near future.

The test site is operated by the non-profit Marine Renewable Energy Collaborative, a group dedicated to developing marine renewable energy technology.

Crews recently finished installing pilings and a platform near the Buzzards Bay railroad bridge which will allow companies and organizations to test energy generating turbines in tidal flows around 5 knots.

“The facility looks great and we’ve been getting a lot of comments from people who might be interested in coming here,” said John Miller, the Collaborative’s Executive Director. “We’re very hopeful.”

The test site will be able to test turbines up to 3 meters, or 10 feet, in diameter and will help developers save money by not having to build their own facilities.

“In this industry the cost of doing a test site involves an awful lot of permitting and doing something in the ocean is difficult,” Miller said. “Our idea is to develop pre-permitted test sites that allow developers to come in and be able to test in a very cost effective manner.”

Miller hopes the site can draw at least three companies or organizations per year to test turbines.

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