Jennette’s Pier Renewable Ocean Energy Device Testing
The UNC Coastal Studies Institute works closely with energy developers to assist in testing and monitoring their devices in real world ocean environments. UNC CSI has developed two wave energy test centers at Jennette’s pier in Nags Head, a state owned pier managed by the NC Aquarium division. In addition, as the research partner for Jennette’s pier, UNC CSI has invested in both research and outreach infrastructure for the NC Renewable Ocean Energy Program.
The Jennette’s Pier Wave Energy Test Center was listed as a Test Site in the Catalogue of Met-Ocean Data published by Sandia National Laboratories in 2015. The Sandia Wave Energy Test Center catalogue provides met-ocean data and wave energy characteristics for only eight locations in the US where wave energy converters may be deployed and tested.
Shallow Water Wave Energy Test Berths
The Jennette’s Pier Wave Energy Test Center is comprised of two permitted test berths where devices that harness the kinetic energy in waves can be temporarily deployed and monitored for performance and environmental interactions. The nearshore test berth is located 80 meters north of the pier in a water depth of approximately 6 meters of water. The offshore test berth is located 600 meters east and seaward off the end of the pier in 11 meters of water. Devices tested at either berth can be cabled back to the research operations building located at the end of the pier. The research operations building is especially outfitted to accommodate in-situ experiements and monitoring. The building houses a trap door and winch and basket system that allows researchers and divers access to the water and pilings.
Education and Outreach
Research conducted at Jennette’s Pier provides cutting-edge content for education and outreach, and the location is excellent for opportunities to reach the public, with over 250,000 visitors passing through the pier house each year. UNC CSI reaches these visitors via a large, interactive educational display area in the pier house called the Research Center. The Research Center displays raw and interpreted data from experiments and monitoring equipment, as well as videos of interviews with researchers and movies about research endeavors. Live data feeds and videos highlighting the ocean energy research and testing conducted at Jennette’s Pier are among those offered at the Research Center.
Themes from and examples of ocean energy research conducted at Jennette’s Pier are also incorporated into programs developed by the UNC-CSI outreach and education staff and Jennette’s Pier educators, including classroom and camp curricula and workshops for the public.
Device Testing Projects
UNC CSI has partnered with the NC Aquarium Division, Army Corps of Engineers Field Research Facility in Duck, NC, and renewable ocean energy developers to field test their devices. In 2011 and 2012, UNC CSI worked with Resolute Marine, to field test their wave energy converter at both Jennette’s Pier and the US Army Corps Field Research Facility in Duck, North Carolina. Presently, SAROS, a NC company from Charlotte is making arrangements to test their wave energy powered desalination buoy at the Test Facility this spring and summer (2016). SAROS evolved from a senior research project at UNC Charlotte into a company founded by the participating engineering graduates.