ADCPs are regularly used for resource characterization in wave and tidal energy sites; however, methodologies and best practices are entirely dependent on the site characteristics and the assets available. EMEC have used their widely varied experience at multiple sites and locations to develop a review of methodologies and the pros and cons of different deployment styles for data acquisition.
When deploying ADCPs there are a number of site criteria that must be assessed, such as seabed type, bed flow speeds, surface flow speeds, recovery windows (slack and weather), and water depth and range. These criteria can significantly affect the success or failure of marine operations, not necessarily for deployment but certainly for recovery. When recovery operations fail then projects lose assets (ADCP units and bed frames), data, and money (in hire/unit costs, and vessel hire for example). When the data is not recovered then this can jeopardise project success, wasting time, effort and funding.
Different deployment configurations and recovery techniques have been used for ADCP deployments. Equipment such as ground lines, acoustic releases, USBLs, and surface buoys are used to mark, locate, and/or recover devices. These are varied depending on a number of factors. Ground type, for example, can affect systems used since a ground line cannot be effectively used in delicate ecosystems since the dredging required to recover may disturb local flora and fauna. Also, for example, flow speed and vessel traffic will determine whether a surface buoy can be used.
Based on multiple ADCP deployments to characterize resource for wave and tidal energy projects in Scotland, England, France and other sites, EMEC have reviewed different deployment methods and recovery techniques. There is a proposed set-up for deployments suitable for a number of active marine energy sites and suggestions for edits based on site characteristics and target data requirements.