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Dal's cutting‑edge aquatic research facility to test tidal energy projects

- January 26, 2018

(Left to right): Stephen Dempsey (executive director, OERA), Alice Aiken (VP research, Dalhousie), Geoff MacLellan (Minister of Nova Scotia Energy) and John Batt (Aquatron manager) help launch the Aquatron Research Program. (Danny Abriel photo)
(Left to right): Stephen Dempsey (executive director, OERA), Alice Aiken (VP research, Dalhousie), Geoff MacLellan (Minister of Nova Scotia Energy) and John Batt (Aquatron manager) help launch the Aquatron Research Program. (Danny Abriel photo)

A new partnership between the Offshore Research Association of Nova Scotia (OERA), the Nova Scotia Department of Energy, and Dalhousie University will enable researchers to test new and innovative tidal energy technologies at the university’s state-of-the-art Aquatron Laboratory.

The Aquatron Research Program, recently announced by The Honourable Geoff MacLellan, Minister of Nova Scotia Energy, will provide $150,000 in funding for projects that introduce new approaches and methodologies to help resolve some of the technical challenges facing the tidal sector.

Establishing global leadership


“Nova Scotia is a world leader in the development of clean, renewable tidal energy,” said Minister MacLellan, in a news release. “To stay at the forefront of this rapidly changing industry, we will continue to support the ideas and innovations that come from our brightest minds. Their innovations have the potential to lower the cost of delivering tidal energy, while creating more opportunities in rural areas and addressing our climate change goals.”

As part of the research program, OERA launched a call to solicit research projects that focus on advances in environmental monitoring technologies, improvements in marine operations and general cost reductions. Up to five projects will receive funding.

“The Aquatron research program will not only help us improve environmental monitoring and techniques and marine operations for the tidal sector, but it could also lead to the development of new technologies here in Nova Scotia that can be exported abroad,” said Stephen Dempsey, executive director of the Offshore Energy Research Association of Nova Scotia, in a news release.

Providing tools to researchers


As the largest, most versatile university aquatic research facility in Canada, the Aquatron offers a unique set of tools and services that researchers and technology developers can use to run early stage work and evaluate proof of concept, prototypes and novel methodologies.

Once their projects hit a certain stage, they can be scaled up for further testing at the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy (FORCE) demonstration site, located in the Bay of Fundy.

“The research fund we are celebrating today will be a wonderful addition to the ocean innovation ecosystem,” said Alice Aiken, Dalhousie’s vice-president research. “It will be a great mechanism to expand existing partnerships, and spark new ones between academia and industry.”

The deadline for proposals in February 16, 2018. For more information about the research call and how to apply, visit the OERA website.


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