IBM analytics will test environmental impact of wave energy tech

Information collected with sensors and run through IBM cloud analytics technology will analyze the impact of underwater noise on the marine ecosystem.

IBM is teaming up with the Irish government to provide analytics technology that will, in turn, track the environmental impact of wave energy generation technologies.

The west coast of Ireland boasts one of the largest concentrations of wave energy in the world, and consequently, Ireland has been pursuing the development  of wave energy as a sustainable/renewable energy alternative.  Wave energy conversion devices, such as the one pictured here, are being developed and tested by a number of companies.

The west coast of Ireland boasts one of the largest concentrations of wave energy in the world, and consequently, Ireland has been pursuing the development of wave energy as a sustainable/renewable energy alternative. Wave energy conversion devices, such as the one pictured here, are being developed and tested by a number of companies.

Specifically, IBM is contributing sensors, a communications infrastructure and real-time data analytics capabilities that are hosted and processed in the cloud.

The data analysis solution will be applied to the problem of exploring how much underwater noise wave energy generators (such as the Wavebob technology pictured to the right) actually create. That noise will be assessed for its impact on fish, plants and the marine ecosystem at large.

The first test site is in the Galway Bay at a project site that is already being monitored by IBM Research and the Marine Institute Ireland for wave conditions, acoustics, marine life and pollution.

The project was commissioned by the Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland.

Said European Union Commissioner for Research, Inovation and Science Maire Geoghegan-Quinn: "Underwater noise is a global environmental issues that has to be addressed if we are to take advantage of the huge potential of ocean energy."

Ireland imported almost 86 percent of its energy during 2010, and it is working toward a goal of switching almost 16 percent of its energy consumption to sources generated by renewable technologies by 2020.

(Photo courtesy Wavebob, Ltd.)