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$8M for research projects in Newfoundland


St John’s, NL – Newfoundland’s Research & Development Corporation (RDC) is awarding $2.4 million to 11 research and development projects that capitalize on the province’s proximity to a harsh, ocean environment. The total value of the research projects is more than $7.9 million, including investments from the private sector and federal funding agencies.

The projects range from new technology that protects oil and gas infrastructure on the seafloor to innovations that enhance night-time maritime surveillance from the air.

Following is a list of the companies receiving funding. The projects are funded under the ArcticTECH, R&D Proof of Concept and Industrial R&D Fellowships programs.

ArcticTECH Program

SubC Control Ltd.: The copmany is developing technology to give remotely operated vehicle and autonomous underwater vehicle operators a new level of underwater imaging control. It is developing and testing a set of data image recording technologies designed to operate in subsea environments in extremely cold climates such as the Arctic. RDC’s funding is $429,750 with total project costs of $1,899,432

INTECSEA Canada: The company is researching an effective leak detection system for pipelines and other subsea equipment. Fiber optic cable (FOC) systems have high potential to be used in the Arctic and other cold regions. Despite current FOC use for other subsea applications, no comprehensive testing has been reported in the public domain to date regarding FOC subsea applications in the Arctic and other cold regions. This project intends to close this gap. With improved ability to detect and identify leaks, an operator can make better operational decisions. Rapid and reliable leak detection systems minimize potential oil release to the Arctic and minimize risk to people, the environment, and assets. RDC’s funding is $125,000 with total project costs of $397,708

PAL Aerospace Ltd.: This aerospace and defense company specializes in solutions for maritime surveillance operations. The project will enhance the harsh environment capability of their night-flash illumination system (NFIS) to support an Arctic surveillance program the company is developing, including monitoring, surveillance and ice tracking capabilities. RDC’s funding is $499,492 with total project costs of $887,264

PanGeo Subsea: On the Grand Banks, icebergs scouring the seafloor have the potential to impact subsea infrastructure such as wellheads and other production equipment. To mitigate the risk of infrastructure damage, operators use dredging vessels to excavate ‘glory holes’, allowing subsea production equipment to be installed below anticipated scour depths. The dredging of glory holes can be slowed or halted by the occurrence of boulders and layers of hardpan, which approximates the properties of concrete. In an effort to maximize efficiency of dredging programs, PanGeo Subsea is working on a field trial on the Grand Banks using their Acoustic Corer and Sub Bottom Imager technologies. This work should demonstrate that these technologies can provide 3D images of geohazards such as boulders and hardpan beneath the seafloor.  RDC’s funding is $500,000 with total project costs of $1,925,000

R&D Proof of Concept Program

Go Beyond Consulting Inc.: The company is developing underwater machine vision technology that will enable autonomous underwater vehicles to photograph the ocean floor and generate detailed wide-area mosaics. The software technology is also capable of analyzing the resulting imagery, automatically counting benthic organisms such as crab, starfish and sea cucumbers. The project aims to develop supporting technology that will maximize the software’s effectiveness. RDC’s funding is $245,250 with total project costs of $327,000

Northern Radar Inc.: The company owns and develops technologies that are used in high frequency surface wave radars (HFSWR) for long range maritime surveillance and oceanographic monitoring of coastal areas. The company plans to expand its capabilities to include remote sensing of ocean surface currents, surface winds and sea state by bringing its own ocean remote sensing HFSWR platform to market. One of the primary applications for this technology would be oil spill mitigation, remediation and prediction, where the radar could provide real time information supporting analysis of the movement of an oil spill. RDC’s funding is $152,550 with total project costs of $900,536.

Port Electric Solutions Inc.: With a focus in marine navigation systems, Port Electric Solutions is developing a “smart” LED light-based navigation control panel with Ethernet capability. This innovation to marine navigation systems has the potential to enable mariners to receive alerts and responses to queries about the systems’ operational state from a computer terminal located anywhere on the ship. This R&D project will involve the development of the control panel as well as real-world testing on a local commercial vessel. The completion of testing will permit Port to commence manufacture and sales of the units in the Canadian and US markets. RDC’s funding is $41,730 with total project costs of $468,116

Radient360 Solutions Inc.: The company provides in-field inspection, maintenance and auditing solutions for the oil and gas and aerospace industries. In collaboration with a local operator, it plans to develop and deploy an asset management software solution which enhances industry process safety guidelines for both offshore and onshore operations. RDC’s funding is $243,919 with total project costs of $651,489

NSERC Industrial R&D Fellowships

Oceans Ltd.: Through the NSERC Industrial R&D Fellowships program, RDC is supporting two projects with Oceans Ltd.

1. Oceans Ltd. is collaborating with researchers across Atlantic Canada to develop methodologies to process oceanographic data to assist with the design and development of turbines to harness energy from ocean currents. This IRDF project will provide Oceans Ltd. with increased opportunities for collaboration with industry and academia partners and will allow the company to recruit a highly qualified researcher, Dr. Joel Culina. Dr. Culina obtained a Ph.D. in Earth and Ocean Sciences and has considerable practical experience in ocean waves and related energy flow. Collaborators on this project include the Fundy Ocean Centre for Energy, the Acadia Tidal Energy Institute, Acadia University, the University of New Brunswick and the Nova Scotia Community College. RDC’s funding is $40,900 with total project costs of $120,900

2. Oceans Ltd. offers a variety of research and development services and marine expertise for the offshore petroleum industry. One of these services is bio-monitoring, which uses biological responses (known as bioindicators) of marine organisms to understand and measure the effects of environmental contaminants from offshore oil on ecosystem health. To date Oceans has studied bioindicators in different finfish species. By hiring post doctoral fellow Dr. Juan Carlos Perez Casanova, Oceans will study bioindicators in marine invertebrates such as shrimp, snow crab, scallop and sea star. By further developing its biomonitoring services, Oceans will be in a
position to expand its environmental monitoring products and services.  RDC’s funding is $37,000 with total project costs of $117,000.

GRI Simulations Inc.: This is a software development company focused on real-time simulation, modeling, and visualization for critical marine activities. Project leader Dr. Matthew Hamilton will develop subsea seismic visualization capability to be integrated into the copmany’s virtual remotely operated vehicle field development kit. This project will complete the software system, capable of visualizing a subsea oil field interactively, in real-time. RDC’s funding is $60,000 with total project costs of $209,494.