Sustainable management of Norwegian waters, safe and optimum operation of underwater installations, and harmonic coexistence between ocean industries, requires improved data for knowledge-based decisions. Large amounts of measurements are made in oceans, coastal areas, and fjords; from ships, buoys, and remotely operated vehicles. There is however a lack of real- and long-time measurements, that can enable systematic monitoring of important parameters at critical locations over time, with stationary and smarter underwater sensors.
SFI Smart Ocean aims to develops a wireless observation system that can provide alarm signal in case of events that are critical for the environment; in addition to monitoring at and around underwater installations as basis for condition-based maintenance and safe operation of these.
The system will be based on a network of autonomous, energy efficient, and smart sensors that will enable acquisition and analysis of large amounts of information about the ocean environment and offshore installations. Smart functionality in sensors and the network will contribute to a significantly more effective utilization of the data transfer capacity than what is available in one-to-one communication solutions. Data and information will be accessible at an aggregated level for national authorities, ocean industries, and research.
Long time history from stationary sensors in the sea and at installations, in fjords, coastal areas, harbor- and industry sites, together with advanced data analysis, will provide alarm signals for events and anomalies in operations and ocean environment, as basis for intervention decisions. Although focus is on stationary units, future implementation of underwater drones will be possible.
The results from the Centre will have large impact across ocean industries, petroleum, offshore wind, fisheries, and aquaculture, with importance for improved sustainability, safety, and cost efficiency in marine operations.
The center works very interdisciplinary with a focus on interaction between technologies and partners for the common benefit of the marine industries. To ensure the best possible degree of innovation and value creation for both the partners in the center and the maritime industries in general, the main focus in the start-up phase has been on mapping specifications, needs and limitations, as well as studies of previous scientific and industrial results.
The findings will be further processed and lay the foundation for important technology decisions to be made during 2022.
Furthermore, the center has recruited 3 new PhD fellows this year and candidates for 2 other PhD positions are being evaluated. Several master's students have also been involved in the activities of the center, and the Scientific Advisory Committee has been appointed. SFI Smart Ocean has also presented the center at many conferences and various forums in 2021, and initiatives and applications have been started for several spin-off projects.
So far 18 partners participate in the Centre, from university and institute sectors, industry enterprises, national authorities, and industry clusters. With University of Bergen as host institution, the Centre is localized at the Department of Physics and Technology, under the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences.
SFI Smart Ocean aims to create a wireless observation system for multi-parameter monitoring of underwater environments and installations. The system, based on autonomous smart sensors, will serve as an enabling fundament to realize flexible, distributed, robust, energy efficient, cost-effective, and safe marine measurements and big-data handling, to solve societal and industrial challenges.
The Centre will address selected novel measurement technologies; a smart sensor platform commencing data pre-processing and compression; two-way underwater acoustic communication through the smart network architecture; and software technology covering the chain from data aquisition to interfacing relevant open data platforms.
R&D challenges include; standardized, low energy and low cost underwater wireless communication; software and systems to enable Internet of Underwater Things; in addition to enabling sensors and technologies for measurement of integrity and environment over larger areas. Anti-biofouling nano-coating, and methods for optimizing the monitoring system for cost efficiency and measurement quality, are also key to ensure reliable data over long time-periods.
The Centre will develop a vendor neutral and flexible network technology, and enable real-time high quality data. Sensors and equipment from vendors not participating in the Centre can be readily implemented in the network structure, allowing for further value creation also outside the Centre. Non-proprietary data collected by the system shall be made available through open data platforms for further use by industry, authorities, and scientists. Participating vendor companies will get access to the smart sensor platform and implement this in their sensors, increasing market shares through new innovations. The technology will enable increased autonomy for sustainable and profitable ocean industry operations, and fact-based ocean resource management; important to both ocean industries and authorities.