Acadia-led tidal energy research team receives CFI Innovation Fund award


Acadia University’s Dr. Richard Karsten (Mathematics, Acadia Tidal Energy Institute) is the lead researcher on a project that will receive an Innovation Fund award from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI). Announced today at Acadia University by the Hon. Scott Brison, President of the Treasury Board of Canada, on behalf of the Hon. Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, the multi-institutional tidal energy project will receive $1,119,556 from CFI for state-of-the-art field equipment and high-end computing infrastructure. 

 “The Innovation Fund encourages institutions and its researchers to think big and strive to be global leaders by conducting world-class research. This funding pushes researchers to aim higher in their pursuits by collaborating across disciplines, institutions and sectors. With this support, institutions can build on their current research strengths and set their sights on accelerating research that will create social, health, environmental and economic benefits for all Canadians,” commented Dr. Roseann O’Reilly-Runte, President and CEO of CFI.

The Project: "Environmental Monitoring, Modelling and Forecasting Infrastructure for Instream Tidal Energy"

Tidal currents are a promising source of renewable energy. In the Bay of Fundy, Canada has one of the world's richest tidal resources and a world-leading test site for large grid-connected in-stream tidal turbines. However, decisions regarding the development and regulation of the tidal energy industry are hindered by insufficient scientific evidence related to animal/turbine interactions and flow variability.

To fill these knowledge gaps, a team of Canada’s leading tidal energy researchers from Acadia, Dalhousie, UNB and MUN will pursue two thematic research thrusts: the impact of the environment on in-stream tidal turbines and the impact of tidal turbines on the environment. The project, worth $2.8 million in research funding, will receive $1,119,556 from CFI with additional matching funds to come from other funding sources.

The funds will enable creation of the world’s first observation and prediction system for investigating the physical and biological marine environment in high-flow conditions at turbulence-resolving scales. Combined with the Fundy Ocean Research Center for Energy’s test site, this observation and prediction system will be used to provide the scientific evidence needed to determine the scale of a tidal energy industry in the Bay of Fundy that is economically feasible and environmentally acceptable.

“Acadia University is excited to be leading this multi-institutional tidal energy project which will apply innovative technology to inform decision-making and risk reduction in the early stages of Canada’s developing tidal energy industry,” said Dr. Anna Redden, Dean of Research and Graduate Studies.

The Research Team

The tidal energy research team includes world-leading early-career and established researchers from multiple Atlantic Canadian universities who bring unique and complementary expertise to the project:

Acadia University:

Principal Investigator Dr. Richard Karsten is an internationally recognized leader in numerical modelling for tidal energy resource and site assessment

Dr. Anna Redden is a recognized international expert on the environmental effects of tidal energy developments

Dr. Michael Stokesbury is a world leader in studying fish behaviour using electronic tags

Dalhousie University:

Dr. Alex Hay is recognized nationally and internationally as an expert in acoustical oceanography and sediment dynamics processes in coastal and continental shelf environments

Dr. Paul Hill is a global expert in fine-sediment dynamics in the coastal ocean

Dr. David Barclay is a leading expert in measuring and modelling underwater acoustic noise

University of New Brunswick:

Dr. Andrew Gerber is a recognized expert in computational fluid dynamics (CFD), with extensive academic research in collaboration with industry and government partners

Dr. Tiger Jeans is a leading expert in the application of CFD to solve practical hydrodynamic and aerodynamic flows

Dr. Joseph Hall is an internationally recognized researcher in turbulence and acoustics

Memorial University:

Dr. Len Zedel is an internationally recognized expert in Doppler sonar system design and operation


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