[MARMAM] New publication: Collision risk modelling for tidal energy devices: A flexible simulation-based approach

Nicholas Horne nicholas.horne at myport.ac.uk
Wed Oct 28 03:30:41 PDT 2020

 Dear Colleagues,

My co-authors and I are pleased to announce the publication of our research
article 'Collision risk modelling for tidal energy devices: A flexible
simulation-based approach' in the Journal of Environmental Management. The
full manuscript is available online at:


The marine renewable energy industry is expanding as countries strive to
reach climate targets as set out in the Paris Agreement. For tidal energy
devices, the potential risk for animals to collide with a device,
particularly its moving parts such as rotor blades, is often a major
barrier in the consenting process. Theoretical work surrounding collision
risk has commonly made use of a formulaic modelling approach. However,
whilst providing a platform to assess conventional horizontal axis tidal
turbines, the frameworks applied lack the flexibility to incorporate novel
device designs or more complex animal movement parameters (e.g. dive
trajectories). To demonstrate the novel simulation-based approach to
estimating collision probabilities a hypothetical case study was used to
demonstrate how the approach can assess the influence that variations in
ecological and behavioural data had on collision probabilities. To do this,
a tidal kite moving in a 3D figure-of-eight trajectory and a seal-shaped
object were modelled and variations to angle of approach, speed and size of
the animal were made. To further improve the collision risk estimates,
results of the simulations were post-processed by integrating a
hypothetical dive profile. The simulations showed how variation in the
input parameters and additional post-processing influence collision
probabilities. Our results demonstrate the potential for using this
simulation-based approach for assessing collision risk, highlighting the
flexibility it offers by way of incorporating empirical data or expert
elicitation to better inform the modelling process. This framework, where
device type, configuration and animal-related parameters can be varied with
relative simplicity, on a case-by-case basis, provides a more tailored tool
for assessing a diverse range of interactions between marine renewable
energy developments and receptors. In providing a robust and transparent
quantitative approach to addressing collision risk this flexible approach
can better inform the decision-making process and aid progress with respect
to developing a renewable energy industry in a sustainable manner.
Therefore, the approach outlined has clear applications that are relevant
to many stakeholders and can contribute to our ability to ensure we achieve
sustainable growth in the marine renewable energy industry as part of a
global strategy to combat climate change.

Horne, N., Culloch, R. M., Schmitt, P., Lieber, L., Wilson, B., Dale, A.
C., Houghton, J. D. R., Kregting, L. T. (2021). Collision risk modelling
for tidal energy devices: A flexible simulation-based approach. Journal of
Environmental Management. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2020.111484

To request a PDF, please send over an email (nhorne01 at qub.ac.uk).

Many thanks,

Nicholas Horne

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