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Applications for energy supply

The applications of OSLO in the field of energy supply include sea ice and debris detection, anti pirate security and the monitoring of ocean waves used for efficient planning and transport.

Efficient transport and security

Sea ice detection

Ice bergs and floating sea ice in polar waters become increasingly problematic, particularly as the Northern Sea route and polar oil/gas production gain popularity. Current monitoring capabilities rely on satellite monitoring systems but their temporal (and spatial) coverage is insufficient for the needs of the maritime industry. In addition, mandatory on-board radar systems do not typically detect floating ice. This is due to the fact that most of the volume of the sea ice is floating below the sea surface, thus being hardly exposed to radar backscatter.

The characteristics of the OSLO system make it possible to detect floating sea ice, as the system is specifically designed to detect objects in the ocean surface layer.

Detection of floating debris

Floating debris like containers, miss-located navigation marks and drifting fishing equipment along the main shipping routes causes a significant financial loss due to unexpected repairs (mostly yard repairs), stop or delay in service/operation or excessive fuel costs (for instance, by towing a fishing net across the Atlantic).

For example, at any given time there are up to 10.000 containers floating along these highways of the seas. These containers are lost by ships and occasionally hit by more than one vessel before they sink (as it has been the case in the English Channel). Moreover, containers tend to float just under the surface for a considerable period of time (up to 3 months before they sink) and can therefore not be detected by the human eye or a radar system, but they can be detected by the OSLO system.

Anti pirate security

Modern pirates use small ships, typically named skiffs, which are difficult to detect by conventional radar and sonar systems. The boats are typically constructed of wood and have a minimal vertical structure allowing them to only be visible in a short time on the wave crest and not in the through. The pirates onboard are typically heavily armed and occasionally carry modern technology as to learn about their target before attacking. The pirates then take hostage of or kill the crew, involving large ransom payouts and consequent large financial loss (due to the stop in operation, ransoms and loss of lives). In most cases over the last few years, the sea masters themselves have not been alerted in-advance (by their observational sensors) but caught by surprise, even with an upgraded watch. When equipped with an OSLO system, it will be possible to detect pirate vessels in time. Internal security procedures can be started and neighbouring vessels alerted before the pirates have a chance to attack.

Ocean wave information for sail planning

Sail planning for fuel and emission reduction, improved sailing time and the reduction of maintenance costs depends on accurate observational input to a sail plan model. The most crucial observational parameter for these models is ocean wave information, preferably ocean wave spectra. The high-value shipping today has very few means to accurately observe the ocean waves properties (height, propagation speed and direction). Mostly they are using the traditional means of human assessment that is reported in the logbook, which is prone to errors and inefficient. A system like OSLO makes it possible to monitor ocean waves and retrieve all relevant wave information that is required for sail plan models.

Prevention of grounding

The extent of sailable waters of the world is constantly increasing and includes waters that are poorly charted (i.e. Arctic, Antarctica, North West and North East Passage). In addition to the charts being far from correct, the ice in these areas and shoals in coastal areas (that vary over time both in size and location) are other challenges for Masters-Navigators to handle. A real-time monitoring system like OSLO continuously gathers bathymetric information of shoals and ice (both floating and permanent), which makes it possible to prevent groundings effectively.