The Volpe Center evaluated potential environmental challenges and benefits of the ARPA-E funded research project, Marine Hydrokinetic Energy Harvesting Using Cyber-Physical Systems, led by Brown University. The “Leading Edge” research team developed and tested an innovative hydrofoil-type power conversion device to capture energy from flowing water. The technology could provide low-carbon energy to power remote homes/businesses, port and marine facilities, or other coastal facilities, among other uses. This primary aim of this study was to assess which potential environmental impacts of the Leading Edge technology are similar to other tidal energy devices and which might be unique. This report identifies best practices and mitigation measures that could minimize environmental risk during design and deployment of hydrokinetic energy devices. To support future permitting processes, this report includes a summary of NEPA requirements and information that could contribute to a site-specific environmental impact assessment. Volpe also collected environmental data during Leading Edge prototype testing and found that for a vessel-mounted stationary deployment, alteration of water currents and acoustic impacts are likely to be at the lower range of possible impacts.
Potential Environmental Effects of Leading Edge Hydrokinetic Energy Technology
Title: Potential Environmental Effects of Leading Edge Hydrokinetic Energy Technology
May 01, 2017
Document Number: DOT-VNTSC-DOE-17-01
Sudderth, E.; Lewis, K.; Cumper, J.; Mangar, A.; Flynn, D. (2017). Potential Environmental Effects of Leading Edge Hydrokinetic Energy Technology. Report by US Department of Transportation (DOT). pp 171.