Arctic Gas Hydrate Sampling17/05/2012
|German marine research centre, GEOMAR, have placed an order for HyBIS, an underwater inspection and sampling vehicle, from UK subsea tooling and manipulator manufacturers, Hydro-Lek Ltd. The GEOMAR system will be used later this year off the Svalbard archipelago in the European Arctic to sample gas hydrates and map ecosystems related to this environment. HyBIS, a mnemonic for Hydraulic Benthic Interactive Sampler, enables seabed sampling in depths of up to 6,000m, together with video instrumentation observation.|
Gas hydrate is a crystalline solid consisting of gas molecules, usually methane, having major implications for environmental change and as a potential future energy resources.
Highly robust, flexible and inexpensive, HyBIS is designed to operate in conjunction with existing deck handling and cable systems used on extended towed sonar arrays, thereby eliminating the need for additional and costly ROV deck handling equipment. It also enables sonar surveys to be followed up with localised observation and sampling during the same voyage.
HyBIS measures 1.6m x 1.6m x 1.9m high and comprises two subsea modules: an upper module which houses hydraulic and electric power modules with thrusters, release mechanism, video and lighting, and fibre-optic telemetry for instruments and sensors; and a lower module which houses a detachable sampling grab, automatic closing covers and hydraulic drive cylinders. Hydro-Lek has used corrosion-resistant materials throughout the manufacture of HyBIS and it is designed to withstand the high pressures and harsh environment found in the deep oceans. Indeed, the pressure 3 miles deep at the bottom of the sea is about 500 times the normal atmospheric pressure, equivalent to the weight of a large family car pushing down on every square inch of the seabed. Electrically-driven thrusters enable the vehicle to be manoeuvred above the seabed under its own power.
In addition to its primary function of sampling and observation, HyBIS has succeeded in recovering a valuable scientific ‘lander’ where the acoustic release had failed, leaving it marooned deep on the seabed. The potential for HyBIS to recover similar lost equipment in the ocean is far-reaching.
Hydro-Lek is currently developing concepts for tracked subsea crawlers which will enable precise, closer inspection of material in localised deep ocean areas.
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ROV sonar data Seismic Environment
Supplier: Hydro-Lek Ltd
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