Two new research projects from the California Energy Commission

A team of the Soga Research Group and the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory is starting two new projects supported by the California Energy Commission.

The $2 million offshore wind project will be developing fiber optic sensor technology for monitoring gearboxes on floating wind turbines and detecting marine mammal activity near the turbine mooring lines. In California, commercial offshore wind remains in the early stages of development, but the coast is one potential location for utility-scale generation. The project will examine the potential of floating wind turbines, which have unique challenges in equipment maintenance and repair, including monitoring for hazards that could disrupt operations.

The $1.5 million natural gas project will develop sensor technology for monitoring the boreholes of underground natural gas storage reservoirs for degradation and corrosion, in collaboration with PG&E, Schlumberger, and C-FER. The project will test two types of autonomous real-time monitoring methods: fiber-optic cables and electromagnetic time-domain reflectometry, a nascent technology that is similar, but which uses electromagnetic waves instead of visible light.