iCRAG researchers based at the UCD School of Civil Engineering have today set sail in Dundalk Bay as part of an investigation to assess the feasibility of a novel fibre-optic approach to carrying out offshore site investigations for windfarm developments in the Irish Sea. The team, comprising Andy Trafford, Dr Mark Coughlan and Dr Shane Donohue aim to develop the use of fibre optic cables to rapidly acquire seismic data over considerable distances (km scale).
Preliminary testing has been successful at Dollymount Strand and the offshore element of the work is taking place in Dundalk Bay on board the Celtic Voyager. The approach being deployed by Andy Trafford and the team has never previously been used for offshore geotechnical investigations and the timing is particularly pertinent in the context of offshore renewable energy. If successful the innovative approach could prove a game changer in the field of marine site investigations.
Andrew Trafford, UCD School of Civil Engineering said, “Understanding the seabed off the Irish coast is key to installing offshore windfarms to power our sustainable future. On this trip, aboard the Celtic Voyager, we will be applying a novel technology using laser interrogation of fibre-optic cables, in Dundalk Bay, to gain a better understanding of sub-surface conditions. Through this method we are effectively using light you can’t see to listen to sound you can’t hear in order to provide essential information for engineers to design infrastructure projects on the seabed.”
The project results will be combined with iCRAG's extensive offshore work and will contribute towards Ireland's attainment of the 5GW of offshore wind energy target projected for 2030.