Sonar is being utilized to survey ships that sank during World War One, but green projects are gaining advantage from data about tides and the seabed. The coast has unique qualities for marine energy. A study mapping hundreds of shipwrecks around the Welsh coast is crucial for the development of green energy, a university scientist said.
Using multi-beam sonar on a research vessel called the Prince Madog, the team has surveyed more than 300 shipwrecks in the Irish Sea, with many of those being sunk in World War One.
While these wartime relics can provide valuable information to historians and archaeologists, they may also assist to lead to the birth of a new industry. The data collected is providing unique insights into how these wrecks influence physical and biological processes in the marine environment. By looking at the wrecks, scientists can analyze how structures have been affected by being in the water for the past 100 years.
The energy that can be created at seas such as offshore wind, tidal, wave, tidal ranges, and turbines needs an understanding of the seabed. The research has already been utilized for two projects – Morlais marine energy, a tidal stream energy scheme off the coast of Anglesey and a wave energy project south of Pembrokeshire, where construction on a test site is set to start in 2020.
The ambition in Wales is to create energy from the sea. It’s a unique place to do it because not everywhere has got strong currents, big waves or tidal surges, but you get it all in Wales.
They need to know the impact on the seabed; it could sink or get buried in sediment. They’re hoping to inform them through research about the seabed what ships are there and the most stable places to do this.