To reduce costs for environmental monitoring studies of wave energy converters, University of Washington’s Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NNMREC) is developing an Adaptable Monitoring Package (AMP) to integrate a flexible suite of instrumentation into a single, streamlined body and the infrastructure to allow an inspection class ROV and custom tool skid to deploy the AMP in the energetic conditions typical of marine energy sites.
System cost can be reduced and ease of mobilization increased by using a small inspection-class Saab Seaeye Falcon ROV for deployment, but available thrust would severely limit operability in moderate currents. To increase thrust capacity without significantly increasing cost, NNMREC are developing a custom tool skid dubbed the Millennium to augment the ROV thrust and incorporate the framework and actuators required to dock the AMP and engage a wet-mate connector.
Andrew Stuart from the University of Washington’s Applied Physics Laboratory contacted SeaView Systems after speaking to Saab Seaeye about SeaView’s “Raptor” modification to the Falcon DR. The Raptor is a bolt on skid that provides a full second suite of five thrusters to the ROV for added power, stability and overall capability. Working in a Master/Slave configuration, the Raptor skid taps into the Falcon DR’s data network and emulates the commands given to the Falcon DR ROV, thereby providing double the thrust and 100% redundancy of system propulsion with no interference to the original ROV. SeaView Systems is supplying NNMREC with the fiber optic control system to run the Millennium tool skid, extra cameras, serial data channels, and the auxiliary power to operate the actuators required to dock the AMP.