Innovation has been at the heart of FGS’s work throughout our history.
Over the course of more than 25 years, our commitment to research and development (R&D) has revolutionised fish guidance and deterrence, and that spirit defines our approach to every project.
Various aspects of our systems have been upgraded and continually improved, with past developments including the addition of inbuilt diagnostics in Sound Projectors, which allow operators to monitor performance of various components in real time.
This complements remote operation and control capabilities, which have been developed to allow multiple users varying degrees of access. The aim has been to improve understanding of the condition of every aspect of a system, and these innovations have been instrumental in reducing the need for repair work by heading off problems early.
One of the most exciting developments of recent years has been the invention of our Active Pressure Compensation System (APCS). Where access to the Sound Projectors that are deployed as part of an acoustic fish deterrent (AFD) is limited, this system solves a host of operational challenges.
Previously, a passive ‘airbag’ pressure compensation system would be used to protect each Sound Projector, but these were subject to occasional failure. The APCS offers a significant upgrade in terms of reliability and extends the service interval of the Sound Projectors.
It continually monitors and adjusts the compensating pressure in the Sound Projector housing, responding to tidal changes at a range (currently) of up to 30 metres.
The system has been extensively tested, notably through simulations of the tidal changes at Hinkley over three full years. It was first installed as part of our trial at Barkley Lock, Kentucky, and is likely to become a standard feature where less accessible sites make maintenance more challenging.
FGS has also developed underwater power and communication hubs, which act as the network ‘nodes’ of a system. The latest version of the technology combines a proven printed circuit board, which monitors and controls communication between Sound Projectors and Control Equipment, with new internal power supply units.
This allows projectors to be installed at a much greater distance from the Control Equipment without any significant drop in power, and reduces installation costs since smaller power cables are required.
Our active R&D department continues to look for advancements throughout the design, installation and maintenance phases of our projects. While it is difficult to predict what the future holds, one exciting area of potential development is the use of remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) for maintenance tasks.
As AFDs become more prevalent in offshore locations, new approaches may significantly reduce the risks associated with underwater operations. ROVs are well established in the oil and gas industry, where they play an important role in assessment and repair work, and FGS’s discussions with suppliers suggest they could be developed to offer similar benefits for AFDs.
For more information on the underlying technology behind effective fish guidance and deterrence, take a look at the breakdowns of each of our systems.