University duo in line for green energy awards

University duo in line for green energy awards

An academic and a PhD student from the University of Aberdeen are both in line for prestigious green energy awards for their work on environmental monitoring for offshore energy projects.

Dr Benjamin Williamson, from the School of Biological Sciences, and Shaun Fraser, a PhD student in the School of Engineering, have been nominated as finalists in the Young Professionals Green Energy Awards 2017, organised by Scottish Renewables.

Their research aims to achieve a detailed understanding of the environmental risks to highly mobile marine animals such as seabirds, mammals and larger fish such as basking sharks, in areas earmarked for offshore tide, wave and wind renewable developments.  

Dr Williamson has been nominated in the Engineer category, in recognition of his work in developing innovative designs and delivering novel engineering solutions for environmental monitoring around tidal turbines.

Meanwhile, Shaun has been nominated in the Academic Award category, having developed an acoustic monitoring system for marine energy sites which could potentially improve current monitoring and speed up planning consents for green energy projects.

Commenting on both nominations, research supervisor Dr Beth Scott said: “It is fantastic to see the recognition from these two independent nominations of the superb cutting edge multi-disciplinary research that is being produced by both Dr Benjamin Williamson and PhD candidate Shaun Fraser. 

“The research is in aid of detailed understanding of the environmental risks to highly mobile marine animals such as seabirds, mammals and larger fish such as basking sharks, in highly energetic regions where offshore tide, wave and wind renewable developments will be placed.  

“These successes highlight how well the approach of my research team and collaborators from the University of Aberdeen, which encourages ecologists and engineers to work together, can achieve novel and important breakthroughs. 

“Benjamin’s new software/hardware allows multiple instruments to provide a detailed range of second by second data types that link animal behaviour with physical water features.

“Shaun’s novel analysis allows a brand new way to test for associations between animal behaviour and complex turbulence features. 

“The combination of these new tools will mean a step change in how we understand mobile marine animal behaviour.”

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