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TNO awarded BOEM contract to develop coherent acoustic propagation methodology

07 Mar 2017

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is part of the US government and manages the responsible exploration and development of offshore energy and marine mineral resources on the US Outer Continental Shelf. It wants to have a coherent acoustic propagation methodology for future environmental impact assessments. To this end, it has awarded a team of experts from TNO Maritime & Offshore, CSA Ocean Sciences Inc. (CSA) and Oasis a contract for “A Parametric Analysis and Sensitivity Study of the Acoustic Propagation for Renewable Energy Sources and Projects” (PASS).

Use of offshore wind energy is expanding in Europe and North America. The individual offshore wind turbines that produce this renewable energy are supported by large piles, up to several meters in diameter, driven tens of meters into the seabed. This process prompts concerns about the possible adverse effects of construction noise on marine life. While the effects are routinely evaluated by carrying out environmental impact assessments (EIAs) for each wind farm, no coherent methodology presently exists to ensure that EIAs carried out by different organisations produce comparable results for the same construction.

To address this situation, BOEM has contracted a team of American and European experts in underwater sound propagation and bioacoustics from CSA Ocean Sciences, Oasis and TNO. The role of TNO role is to provide finite element predictions of the sound field close to a pile, to develop simple methods for extrapolating from measurements close to a pile, and to advise CSA and OASIS based on TNO’s experience on European construction projects.

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