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Wave power - sustainable energy or environmentally costly?: A review with special emphasis on linear wave energy converters
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Animal Ecology. Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Electricity.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Electricity.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Electricity.
2010 (English)In: Renewable & sustainable energy reviews, ISSN 1364-0321, E-ISSN 1879-0690, Vol. 14, no 4, 1329-1335 p.Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Generating electricity from waves is predicted to be a new source of renewable energy conversion expanding significantly, with a global potential in the range of wind and hydropower. Several wave power techniques are on the merge of commercialisation, and thus evoke questions of environmental concern. Conservation matters are to some extent valid independent of technique but we mainly focus on point absorbing linear generators. By giving examples from the Lysekil project, run by Uppsala University and situated on the Swedish west coast, we demonstrate ongoing and future environmental studies to be performed along with technical research and development. We describe general environmental aspects generated by wave power projects; issues also likely to appear in Environmental Impact Assessment studies. Colonisation patterns and biofouling are discussed with particular reference to changes of the seabed and alterations due to new substrates. A purposeful artificial reef design to specially cater for economically important or threatened species is also discussed. Questions related to fish, fishery and marine mammals are other examples of topics where, e.g. no-take zones, marine bioacoustics and electromagnetic fields are important areas. In this review we point out areas in which studies likely will be needed, as ventures out in the oceans also will give ample opportunities for marine environmental research in general and in areas not previously studied. Marine environmental and ecological aspects appear to be unavoidable for application processes and in post-deployment studies concerning renewable energy extraction. Still, all large-scale renewable energy conversion will cause some impact mainly by being area demanding. An early incorporation of multidisciplinary and high quality research might be a key for new ocean-based techniques.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 14, no 4, 1329-1335 p.
Keyword [en]
Artificial reef, Biofouling, Environmental impact, Offshore renewable energy, Sweden, Wave energy converters
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-107222DOI: 10.1016/j.rser.2009.11.016ISI: 000275997200017OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-107222DiVA: diva2:228342
Available from: 2009-07-29 Created: 2009-07-29 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Wave energy conversion and the marine environment: Colonization patterns and habitat dynamics
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Wave energy conversion and the marine environment: Colonization patterns and habitat dynamics
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

A wave energy park has been established on the Swedish west coast outside Lysekil and pioneer work about its interactions with the marine environment has been conducted. So far, little is known about the effects of offshore energy installations on the marine environment, and this thesis assists in minimizing environmental risks as well as in enhancing potential positive effects on the marine environment. The Lysekil research site is situated about two kilometres offshore and has been under development since 2005. During this time 26 “environmental devices”, without generators, consisting of a steel buoy attached via a wire to a foundation on 25 m depth have been placed out for ecological studies on macrofauna in surrounding sediments and on colonization of the foundations and the buoys. Sediment samples to examine macrofauna in the seabed have been taken during five seasons. Biomass, abundance and diversity of infauna in the test site were generally low, but higher than in a nearby control site. The species composition was typical for the area and depth.

In addition to sediment analysis, the effect of wave power concrete foundations on the marine environment has been investigated by scuba diving. The surface orientation and its effect on colonization by sessile organisms was examined on the first five foundations, placed out in 2005, and observations of habitat use by fish and crustaceans were made. The results show a succession of colonization over time (three years of investigation) with a higher cover by sessile organisms on vertical surfaces. Mobile fauna abundance on and around the foundations was generally low.

Three months after the deployment of the 21 new foundations in 2007, assemblages of mobile organisms were examined visually. Also here, mobile species exhibit a low density, but still higher than on surrounding soft bottoms. The edible crab used artificial holes in the foundations frequently. The foundations were placed in two different clusters, north and south, and the degree to which early recruits covered the foundations and the succession of epibenthic communities were documented during two years. Sessile organisms colonized the northern foundations more rapidly, producing a higher diversity which suggests that the placement of wave energy devices affects colonization patterns.

Biofouling on buoys was examined and blue mussels, Mytilus edulis, dominated with a cover about 90%. Wave exposed buoys were particularly favoured by M. edulis which there had a higher biomass and larger shells compared to those on sheltered buoys. Biofouling on wave power buoys, independent whether these had a cylindrical or toroidal shape, was insufficient to markedly affect their energy production.

Finally, the thesis incorporates a review describing wave power projects in general pointing out the need of future research on for instance no-take zones, marine bioacoustics and electromagnetic fields. The main conclusions are that large-scale renewable wave energy conversion will cause ecological impact primarily by adding new hard substrate to an area but not by harming organisms or decreasing biodiversity within wave power parks.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2009. 50 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 663
Keyword
artificial reefs, benthos, biodiversity, biofouling, colonization, environmental impact, fish, shellfish, Mytilus edulis, renewable energy, wave power
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Animal Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-107193 (URN)978-91-554-7581-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2009-10-02, Friessalen, Norbyvägen 14, Uppsala, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2009-09-03 Created: 2009-07-27 Last updated: 2016-05-02Bibliographically approved
2. Underwater radiated noise from Point Absorbing Wave Energy Converters: Noise Characteristics and Possible Environmental Effects
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Underwater radiated noise from Point Absorbing Wave Energy Converters: Noise Characteristics and Possible Environmental Effects
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The conversion of wave energy into electrical energy has the potential to become a clean and sustainable form of renewable energy conversion. However, like all forms of energy conversion it will inevitably have an impact on the marine environment, although not in the form of emissions of hazardous substances (gases, oils or chemicals associated with anticorrosion). Possible environmental issues associated with wave energy conversion include electromagnetic fields, alteration of sedimentation and hydrologic regimes and underwater radiated noise.

Underwater noise has the potential to propagate over long distances and thus have the potential to disturb marine organisms far away from the noise source. There is great variation in the ability to perceive sound between marine organisms, one sound that is clearly audible to one species can be completely inaudible to another. Thus, to be able to determine potential environmental impact from WECs associated with underwater noise, the noise radiated from the WECs must be known. This thesis presents results from studies on the underwater radiated noise from four different full-scale WECs in the Lysekil Wave Power Project.

Hydrophones were used to measure the underwater radiated noise from operating point absorbing linear WECs. The main purpose was to study the radiated noise from the operating WECs with emphasis on characteristics such as spectrum levels, Sound Pressure Level (SPL), noise duration and repetition rate. This to be able to determine the origin of the noise and if possible, implement design changes to minimize radiated noise.

The results identified two main operational noises (transients with the bulk of the energy in frequencies <1 kHz). The SPL of the radiated noise fluctuated significantly, depending on wave height. Broadband SPLrms of the measurements ranged between ~110 dB and ~140 dB re 1 µPa and SPLpeak of specific noises ranges between ~140 and ~180 dB re µPa. Audibility was estimated range from 1km to 15 km depending critically on species and on assumptions of propagation loss. The noise is not expected to have any negative effects on behaviour or mask any signals, unless in the vicinity (<150m) of the WECs in significant wave heights. No physical damage, even in close vicinity are expected on either fish or marine mammals.

Having the aim to have as little impact on the environment a possible, these studies are important. This way precautions can be implemented early in the technical development of this kind of renewable energy converters. The benefits from the WECs the Lysekil wave power project are believed to outweigh possible environmental impacts due to underwater radiated noise.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2014. 62 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1200
Keyword
Wave energy conversion, renewable energy, environmental impact, marine ecology, underwater noise
National Category
Natural Sciences Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-235016 (URN)978-91-554-9097-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-12-12, Häggsalen, Lägerhyddsvägen 1, Uppsala, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

Vid avhandlingens tryckläggning upptäcktes inte att tidpunkt för disputation var fel.

Available from: 2014-11-21 Created: 2014-10-28 Last updated: 2015-02-03

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Langhamer, OliviaSundberg, Jan

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