ROV use in new and emerging areas including marine renewable energy and seafloor characterization in high flow environment is growing. With the downturn in the oil and gas industry, there is a reduced level of activity in the marine ROV operations related to the industry. Cost reduction and improved capabilities have become the priorities for ROV development. In this context, the current state of research in the use of a ROV in high flow marine environments is still limited, and none have been conducted in the Bay of Fundy. While the development and technical advances in the capability of ROVs has expanded their utility in underwater operations, these vehicles range in size from very small ‘observation’ role systems weighing a few kilograms, to very large class III and IV ROVs weighing many tons, designed for complex underwater engineering tasks. The opportunities afforded using ROVs to maximize efficiency and increase the effectiveness of marine operations in high flow tidal environment, clearly makes practical and financial sense.
This Project consists of the work and deliverables described in the Recipient’s proposal entitled: Developing Enhanced Marine Operations (DEMO) in High Flow Tidal Environments dated August 8, 2017. The project was defined as three work packages. The first one has established baseline capabilities of a selected ROV to be tested in the Bay of Fundy. The research team has successfully conducted a technical pre-assessment of the Cougar XT-1420 ROV capabilities through computer simulation of ROV thrusters’ performance analysis. To generate the results, a 3D CAD model as well as a mesh of the ROV were developed. These capabilities were established with consideration of the current marine renewable sites in the Digby and Minas Passage areas. NSCC has assessed the technical feasibility of deploying an ROV in selected sites, based on Dominion Diving’s marine assets and expertise to conduct testing in the Bay of Fundy and to develop the technology upgrade required to successfully complete the DEMO research program.
Work Package 2 has contributed to the development of modeling capabilities that apply the outcome of the previous phase toward developing a set of tools that will help reduce the risks associated with operations in high flow tidal environments. The capabilities being developed can also be used to assess optimization requirements to existing marine assets. This has built on expertise developed by the Heuristic and Evolutionary Algorithms Laboratory of the School of Informatics, Communications and Media of the University of Applied Sciences in Upper Austria (NSCC’s partner). Dynamic Systems Analysis Ltd. (DSA) has provided dynamic analysis software and expertise to assess the motions and loads on the proposed ROV configurations, to reduce operation risks in planning a deployment in high flow tidal environments. The results suggested conducting validation tests in a controlled environment, which was done as part of Work Package 3 in the Aquatron facility at Dalhousie University. A better understanding of the deployment limits was gained as the forward relative fluid velocity increased, and this was used to improve existing modeling capabilities.