Project for photo-acoustic underwater oil spill detection

 
The NRC’s prototype of an underwater oil spill detection technology that could be used from a remote operated vehicle to detect and monitor oil spills under ice-covered water.

The NRC’s prototype of an underwater oil spill detection technology that could be used from a remote operated vehicle to detect and monitor oil spills under ice-covered water.

Oil spill cross section image result obtained with the photoacoustic technique

Oil spill cross section image result obtained with the photoacoustic technique

Remote operated vehicle implementation of the NRC photoacoustic technique

Remote operated vehicle implementation of the NRC photoacoustic technique

Status: Active

NRC researchers have designed and are testing a new technology to detect and track oil spills that occur under ice-covered water.

Objectives

  • Design a new technique based on photo-acoustics to detect and track oil spills that occur under ice-covered water

Deliverables

  • A new technique that:
    • combines an underwater pulsed laser for generation and underwater ultrasonic transducers for the detection of ultrasonic waves to detect and characterize oil spills
    • offers great contrast, easy-to-interpret information, is not very sensitive to misalignment, and is effective in mapping moderately-complex oil spills
    • could be implemented in a remote operated vehicle (ROV), to be well adapted to emergency response. Alternately, a technology that could be implemented in autonomous underwater vehicles for surveys of large risky zones

Activities

  • These developments began with the idea of combining optics and acoustics to detect and quantify oil spills from underwater vehicles. In the laboratory, researchers demonstrated the validation of the principle and developed a first non-immersible prototype to highlight the potential and the advantages of this technique
  • Researchers assembled a second prototype submarine to carry out current and future demonstrations in large basins and in real conditions
  • In the future, as an advanced underwater sensor platform, this prototype should integrate other optical and acoustic technologies to explore new environmental or exploration applications

Results

  • The results obtained to-date are very promising, providing clear results for researchers. The NRC is looking to advance this technology with collaboration on further developing, validating, and deploying the technology in real-life conditions
  • This should result in an advanced photo-acoustic sensor for remote and real time detection/mapping of oil spills that will become a practical tool to protect the Arctic and ice-covered regions

Project team

 

Contact us

Anne Barker
Arctic Program Leader

1200 Montreal Road, M-32
Ottawa, ON K1A 0R6

Telephone: 613-990-2511
Email: anne.barker@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca