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Paul Gibbs

Mechanical Engineer IV





Department Affiliation

Ocean Engineering


B.S. Mechanical Engineering, University of Washington, 2010


Commissioning a Tidal Turbine Testing System

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31 Jul 2019

A Laboratory and UW Department of Mechanical Engineering team is working on Lake Washington to continue testing the full-scale prototype marine hydrokinetic energy device. The turbine is mounted on the R/V Russell Davis Light gantry and then lowered between the catamaran hulls so that researchers can simulate flows past the turbine without disruptions from the vessel or other structures.

A suite of sensors, including load and torque cells and an acoustic Doppler velocimeter, monitor the turbine. Data acquired are used to characterize turbine performance under various simulated flow conditions in real time and in post-processing analysis.

Persistent Environmental Monitoring Near an Operational Wave Energy Converter

In the first demonstration of the technology, the WEC supplied all the power needed by the multi-sensor Adapatable Monitoring Package.

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15 Jul 2019

For over 6 months, ocean environment observations were captured by the sensor package powered only by the ocean waves at the U.S. Navy Wave Energy Test Site off Oahu, HI.

Here, offshore Hawaii, the Navy is interested to understand the risk of interactions between wave energy conversion devices and marine animals, especially humpback whales. During its deployment the acoustic, sonar, photo, and video sensors detected, characterized, and recorded marine animals (no whales) relying only on the wave power captured by and converted to electricity by the Fred. Olsen BOLT Lifesaver buoy.

Wave Energy Buoy that Self-deployes (WEBS)

The Wave Energy Buoy that Self-deploys (WEBS) converts surface wave energy to mechanical and electrical power. WEBS is an easily deployed power station that can operate anywhere in the off-shore environment. Potential applications include power sensor payloads for scientific instrumentation; power station for autonomous systems, undersea vehicles, and/or surface vessels; and communications relay.

Research collaborators are the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and Columbia Power Technologies.

13 Dec 2016

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2000-present and while at APL-UW

Adaptable Monitoring Package development and deployment: Lessons learned for integrated instrumentation at marine energy sites

Polagye, B., J. Joslin, P. Murphy, E. Cotter, M. Scott, P. Gibbs, C. Bassett, and A. Stewart, "Adaptable Monitoring Package development and deployment: Lessons learned for integrated instrumentation at marine energy sites," J. Mar. Sci. Eng., 8, 553, doi:10.3390/jmse8080553, 2020.

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24 Jul 2020

Integrated instrumentation packages are an attractive option for environmental and ecological monitoring at marine energy sites, as they can support a range of sensors in a form factor compact enough for the operational constraints posed by energetic waves and currents. Here we present details of the architecture and performance for one such system — the Adaptable Monitoring Package — which supports active acoustic, passive acoustic, and optical sensing to quantify the physical environment and animal presence at marine energy sites. we describe cabled and autonomous deployments and contrast the relatively limited system capabilities in an autonomous operating mode with more expansive capabilities, including real-time data processing, afforded by shore power or in situ power harvesting from waves. Across these deployments, we describe sensor performance, outcomes for biological target classification algorithms using data from multibeam sonars and optical cameras, and the effectiveness of measures to limit biofouling and corrosion. On the basis of these experiences, we discuss the demonstrated requirements for integrated instrumentation, possible operational concepts for monitoring the environmental and ecological effects of marine energy converters using such systems, and the engineering trade-offs inherent in their development. Overall, we find that integrated instrumentation can provide powerful capabilities for observing rare events, managing the volume of data collected, and mitigating potential bias to marine animal behavior. These capabilities may be as relevant to the broader oceanographic community as they are to the emerging marine energy sector.

Acoustics Air-Sea Interaction & Remote Sensing Center for Environmental & Information Systems Center for Industrial & Medical Ultrasound Electronic & Photonic Systems Ocean Engineering Ocean Physics Polar Science Center