Acoustic Propagation Modeling for Marine Hydro-Kinetic Applications

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 9:45 AM
Charles Nathan Johnson and Erick Johnson, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT, United States
The combination of riverine, tidal, and wave energy have the potential to supply over one third of the United States’ annual electricity demand. However, in order to deploy and test prototypes, and commercial installations, marine hydrokinetic (MHK) devices must meet strict regulatory guidelines that determine the maximum amount of noise that can be generated and sets particular thresholds for determining disturbance and injury caused by noise. An accurate model for predicting the propagation of a MHK source in a real-life hydro-acoustic environment has been established. This model will help promote the growth and viability of marine, water, and hydrokinetic energy by confidently assuring federal regulations are meet and harmful impacts to marine fish and wildlife are minimal. Paracousti, a finite difference solution to the acoustic equations, was originally developed for sound propagation in atmospheric environments and has been successfully validated for a number of different geophysical activities. The three-dimensional numerical implementation is advantageous over other acoustic propagation techniques for a MHK application where the domains of interest have complex 3D interactions from the seabed, banks, and other shallow water effects. A number of different cases for hydro-acoustic environments have been validated by both analytical and numerical results from canonical and benchmark problems. This includes a variety of hydrodynamic and physical environments that may be present in a potential MHK application including shallow and deep water, sloping, and canyon type bottoms, with varying sound speed and density profiles. With the model successfully validated for hydro-acoustic environments more complex and realistic MHK sources from turbines and/or arrays can be modeled.