Fish guidance and deterrence solutions are complex systems. Every project demands a detailed understanding of requirements, as well as a pioneering approach to solving unique challenges.
The very concept of sound-based deterrents is fuelled by innovation, and our success depends on the creativity of the FGS team and our partners.
From the introduction of our Active Pressure Compensation System (APCS) at Barkley Lock to the development of a new means to remotely control the air supply at Georgiana Slough, we adapt each system to unique circumstances.
Extending and expanding the technology
Now, we are preparing to bring that spirit of innovation to Hinkley Point C. The project’s Development Consent Order specifies the inclusion of an acoustic fish deterrent alongside other environmental protection measures.
Such a large and complex project demands a bespoke approach, with experts in many fields working together to identify requirements and deliver solutions that satisfy them.
Marine biologist Dr Paul Naylor, in his response to a Hinkley Point C consultation, explained that rather than deploy an off-the-shelf solution, those responsible for the technology would need to tailor it to the unique requirements.
“Given the size and location of the Hinkley Point C intakes, the AFD system … required by the current Environment Agency permit was always going to be an extended and expanded application of an existing technology,” he said.
Fortunately, the technology to deliver what regulators, the developer and the ecosystem need is already in development.
Embracing the challenges
Our APCS did not exist when Hinkley Point C was first conceived. Previously, a pressure compensation system was required to protect each Sound Projector.
The APCS allows continuous monitoring and adjustment of the compensating pressure in the Sound Projector housing and can either be deployed for individual units, or applied to multiple projectors. Initial designs assumed a need to accommodate eight or nine, but the technology can be developed to run as many as required by a given project.
The system was created in part to resolve the operational and maintenance challenges of tidal changes at less accessible sites and its inclusion may extend service intervals by more than a year.
Meanwhile, work on fibre optic cables is extending the offshore reach of our operations, while localised power supply units are making such projects more cost-effective.
Long cables require high voltage supplies because of greater losses over the long cables, but our prototypes of localised units have proven to be more efficient, with smaller diameter cables carrying the necessary voltage without the issues of loss of power.
Of course, our work in this area is never done. As technology continues to unlock new possibilities, we are working with partners in the public and private sectors to create solutions that strike a balance between meeting budgetary restrictions, protecting the environmental and fulfilling regulatory obligations.