The netH2O platform includes buoys, drones and a web+mobile infrastructure to collect and redistribute data.
The netH2O-P is a modular smart buoy, which can host a variety of sensors. It is simple, sturdy an cheap, and can be operated by non technical personnel. It is also almost 100% recyclable. Using a patented solution, it can be deployed for very long duration, without the need for maintenance, and is therefore perfect for monitoring of marine energy installations without adding complexity and operational costs.
The basic configuration has a temperature sensor, a GPS and an inertial Motion Unit with which it can estimate waves and currents and a microphone to listen to underwater sounds. It is also equipped with WiFi, Lora and Cellular (3G/2G) as main communication channels.
For marine energy applications, a version which includes underwater webcam, above-water photos, solar panels and acoustic monitoring might be the right point where to start.
In marine energy applications, it can receive data (either wirelessly or through a cable) from the marine energy devices and collect its own. It will then transmit the data to relevant stakeholders, which can include controlling authorities of device operators.
The netH2O can also act as a data relay for the marine energy devices, offloading from them all remote communications.
Marine energy installations are usually (by necessity) located in sites with high energy levels, be it from waves, currents or wind. This makes accessing the sites by humans or drones complicated, risky and expensive, and creates the need for a system to monitor remotely the sites in an effective and robust way.
The netH2O have been designed with long term unattended deployments at sea as the main requirement. With a patented solution, the buoys can keep their sensors clean even in very long (potentialyy indefinitely long) deployments, eliminating one of the main limitations of traditional approaches. This way, the netH2O does not add to the already demanding requirements of O&M of a marine installation, and on the contrary alleviates some of these requirements.
The above core idea is supplemented by 4 years of engineering design, which resulted in a buoy which is cheap, robust and almost 100% recyclable. This last feature is probably going to become mandatory in marine installations in the future.
The availability of a simple, economical, robust, autonomous device capable of collecting data from a marine energy installation, while require little or no maintenance, can open up a new level of monitoring.
Continuous, independent, authoritative monitoring of installations performance and impact on the environment will be key to a correct development of marine energy. The netH2O can be one of the main enablers of this, through its mix of low cost, low maintenance, simplicity and versatility.
The netH2O can also be used to complement or replace the resource assessment systems, and using AI can provide forecasting for the energy levels impacting on the marine energy device, helping improving its operations.
Michele Grassi, CEO and CTO of Elements Works, is a serial enterpreneur having extensive experience in marine engineering and also specifically in marine energy, having ideated the H24 wave energy converter.
Alessandra Licciardello, Software Engineer and Project Manager, has extensive experience in remote supervision and control (SCADA) systems in the marine sector, and collaborated with Michele Grassi both in the H24 design and in the netH2O design.