With tidal stream energy moving ever closer towards full commercialization, there is a growing requirement for environmental monitoring and acquisition of meteorological data in sites of high flow velocity. Such data is imperative for installation of devices, design of arrays and for through life environmental monitoring of farms.
Previously the typical method of obtaining accurate, live data has been to deploy a separate work vessel equipped with current monitoring equipment wasting fuel, time and money. Conventional buoys are not suitable for use on strong tidal current sites as the drag forces pull the buoy under water when the current speed increases. This work discusses the development of the Mojo Current Buoy, designed to provide tidal current profile and heading data for transmission back to land or ship in extreme tidal locations without submerging. It delivers a live data stream for the assistance of marine operations, and can also be used as a cost effective alternative to vessel or bottom mounted acoustic profilers for metocean data acquisition at tidal array sites. A case study of a recent operation based at the EMEC site, Orkneys, is used to illustrate the capabilities of the buoy.