Smart buoy tech delivers data from the seafloorEngineering360 News Desk | March 18, 2023
Australia-based tech start-up Harvest Technology Group is developing custom-built remote subsea monitoring solutions for the offshore and marine industries, combining acoustic data transfer and data transmission technology to monitor and provide critical real-time data from subsea assets already in use for decommissioning and disaster monitoring.
According to the startup, Harvest’s technology solutions offer the offshore oil and gas and marine industries benefits such as delaying decommissioning activities, strategizing environmental action, removing people from unsafe environments, and eliminating large costs associated with traditional subsea monitoring while also reducing carbon emissions.
The seafloor is one of the most remote environments on the planet, but the latest technologies are making it increasingly accessible. Harvest’s recent monitoring solution developed for a client remotely records measurements, monitors the status of assets on the seafloor and delivers this data via the web. All the data can now be viewed live and analyzed by stakeholders to make informed and critical decisions.
The solution employs acoustic transfer to transmit data through the water from the monitoring structure on the seafloor to a buoy on the surface. The buoy acts as a modem to communicate this information back to shore via mobile or satellite link. The data is securely transmitted via the web, providing viewers with real-time access to the information they need.
Presenting an alternative to traditional subsea asset monitoring, Harvest’s solution offers dynamic, live information as opposed to retrospective data that would otherwise be relied on to make decisions.
“A traditional solution involves periodic engagement of a suitably sized vessel with onboard remote operated vehicles (ROV) and a full suite of inspection personnel,” explained a spokesperson at Harvest.
“This requires significant planning and comes with a hefty price tag. In between periodic inspections, things can go wrong, and it’s never usually known until the next inspection, which could be some months later.
“With our technology, at any time, customers can log in to receive a live video feed of their subsea assets from anywhere on any mobile device with internet access.
“Having this information allows customers to stay informed about the condition of their assets to enable decision making at the right time. Implementing technology solutions provides much more capability to the customer, while being significantly less than the cost of doing it the way it’s always been done.”
The harshness of subsea environments makes designing such solutions even more challenging.
With water, weather, waves and marine life to contend with, the equipment and technology capturing data must be able to survive. Everything needs to be built to last and able to be self-powered for long periods to avoid additional maintenance and downtime.
“System design and component selection is critical to ensure that the system is able to operate for long periods without the need for maintenance,” researchers from Harvest explained.
“Power consumption is a big consideration for these projects. Utilizing the latest in battery technology, combined with our bespoke software solutions, we can remotely control and monitor power consumption and usage of sensors, cameras and other components.
“Another important feature is the ability to alert onshore headquarters when there is a major change in sensor readings, so customers can respond quickly in an emergency situation or monitor until intervention is required.”
Capabilities can range from subsea video surveillance to purpose-built sensors measuring environmental conditions.
With a growing variety of applications such as ports, offshore windfarms, aquaculture and environmental monitoring, companies are demanding technology that delivers real-time data to replace traditional methods which are expensive, slow and hazardous.