3 questions for Rui Duarte

3 questions for Rui Duarte

The DIME project on breaking waves is coming to an end. Before the results webinar on 15 October 2021, we take a look at the project with Rui Duarte, research engineer in site characterisation tools and methods.

What is your role in the DIME project on breaking waves?
My main contribution concerns instrumentation for experiments at La Jument lighthouse, off Ushant Island in Brittany. The aim is to use this offshore structure to record direct field measurements. I’m in charge of setting up the stereo video system, used for 3D wave reconstruction, at the top of the lighthouse and ensuring it is functioning correctly, as well as the whole dedicated data acquisition system. Measurement campaigns take place each winter, as the observation conditions for extreme events are optimal. We therefore need to go on site in the autumn to install the equipment, then come back in the spring to retrieve it.
As part of the DIMPACT project which is just starting up, we will continue these campaigns and optimise them so that only one trip a year is needed. Meanwhile,
an equivalent camera system is to be installed on the mast of a floating wind turbine in Norway. Pressure sensors will also be fitted to the structure. I’m involved in the programming and electronic aspects of this. It’s a really exciting teamwork experience through which I am developing new expertise.

What is the main difficulty in this mission?
The real obstacle is accessing the experimentation site. Getting to the lighthouse is difficult. It involves either being airlifted by helicopter or dropped off by boat, weather conditions permitting. Each trip therefore needs to be very carefully planned and spare equipment must always be taken. The systems need to be designed to be as reliable as possible. The project will soon be coming to an end.

What have been the main highlights for you?
Without a doubt, the trips to the lighthouse! As I said, accessing the site is quite a feat. The time and number of people are both limited: we therefore need to work as efficiently and cooperatively as possible. There is a really unique atmosphere about this type of working situation. What’s more, spending a night or two in this lighthouse out at sea is an original experience that few people get the chance to try.

Photo credit: France Energies Marines

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