Today a large number of marine based energy devices are been deployed rapidly across coastal areas of the world’s oceans to harness the huge natural energy and power potential provided by nature. These devices produce sound signals at high sound pressure levels across a wide range of frequencies that could be detrimental to the health and livelihood of marine animals.
This paper proposes a computer model that simulates the emission of acoustic signals produced by a wave energy device. It analyses these signals with the aid of the audiogram of marine mammals, in this case the Harbour seal. This enables us to estimate the levels of acoustic noise experienced by marine mammals due to the presence of ocean deployed devices.
Propagation of the acoustic signals underwater was modelled with boundary conditions using the finite element method. These include the bathymetry (features of underwater terrain) of the deployment site and properties of the propagation media. The type of spreading of the acoustic signals, and their interaction with the bottom surface interface of the acoustic environment was also taken into consideration. The effect of the bottom surface of the acoustic medium was seen to affect the sound pressure level (SPL) values as the sound receiver moves away from the source.