The Vectron

Advancing the Science of Tidal Power

Project Overview

FORCE, in partnership with Nortek Scientific, a Canadian centre of excellence in acoustic Doppler processing, is developing the world’s first instrument to accurately measure turbulence throughout the water column – called a Vectron. 

A leap forward in site characterization, the Vectron generates high fidelity measurements of turbulence through turbine hub height. These measurements include turbulence intensity, time and length scale distributions – all identified as key contributors to turbine performance and loading. 

Traditional acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCPs) use diverging beams to approximate the velocity, but averaging across the beams filters out much of the turbulence information. Acoustic Doppler velocimeters (ADVs) use converging beams to measure turbulence accurately, but have very limited range. The Vectron will combine the range of the ADCP with the accuracy of the ADV.

[Above right is a brief video of phase one of Vectron development: beams from three acoustic Doppler profilers converge on a single point to measure water velocity in a testing tank at Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS]:



The Vectron represents a significant international scientific achievement – the first continual, reliable measurement of turbulence through the water column. The Vectron provides critical information for industry – information that investors and developers will use to construct, deploy and maintain their turbines and marine infrastructure. This data is critical to success not only in the challenging conditions of the Bay of Fundy, but at high flow sites worldwide. 


FORCE is currently developing an underwater monitoring platform designed to deploy and recover instruments in high flow environments: the FAST platform. FAST provides the perfect opportunity to develop and test the Vectron. FORCE and Nortek Scientific will partner to provide hardware, firmware, software, turbulence processing, platform mounting, and deployment.