Argonne supercomputers help predict future infrastructure needs in Maine’s Casco Bay region
A region’s infrastructure goes largely unnoticed until it fails. The Regional Resiliency Assessment Program (RRAP) under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is designed to help participants understand how hazards affect the resilience of infrastructure systems. Scientists at the U.S Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory collaborated with the federal government and regional stakeholders on an RRAP project focused on the Casco Bay region of southern Maine. The goal of the project was to build on earlier work to assess the risks of climate change in the region and help state and local stakeholders mitigate the risks to regional infrastructure.
Using supercomputers at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility, a DOE Office of Science User Facility, the team created climate model datasets that, among other things, can help project the future impacts of heatwaves, extreme precipitation events, storm surge and sea-level rise on the energy infrastructure of coastal Maine. Pivotal advancements like locally relevant climate model datasets help governments, local communities and private-sector infrastructure owners and operators understand the changing risks to infrastructure from severe events and enable them to design more resilient infrastructure systems for the future.
Argonne partners with UMaine scientists to study how turbines affect fish behavior
Researchers worldwide have long sought to harness marine and hydrokinetic energy to produce renewable electricity from a body of water. However, capturing that energy may pose risks to fish, such as colliding with turbine blades or disrupting migratory behavior and food acquisition habits or habitat displacement.
Scientists from Argonne and The University of Maine conducted mobile hydroacoustic surveys to track fish as they approached a tidal turbine in Maine’s Cobscook Bay. They used the Eulerian-Lagrangian-Agent Method developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which simulates fish behavior. Originally designed to study dam operations and fish bypass designs, this was the first time the method had been applied to marine and hydrokinetic energy technology.
In terms of possible collision, scientists saw that the number of fish avoiding the turbine increased beginning at about 140 meters from the turbine, and chiefly when it was spinning. They also determined that movements to avoid the turbine appeared to be more horizontal than vertical and that fish reacted to turbine noise rather than to flow field disturbances. Their findings suggest that while a single turbine may pose a low collision risk, risks may vary with additional installations.