The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST) has awarded the prestigious Laurie Prandolini Research Fellowship of AU$14,000 to Christelle Auguste.
Christelle graduated with a master’s degree in Marine Science from the Seatech School of Engineering/University of Toulon. After working as a hydraulic engineer with the French national railways (SNCF) for ten years, Christelle moved to Tasmania in November 2017 to renew her love of the ocean and begin a PhD at the Australian Maritime College.
The fellowship will be used to support her studies into the effect of tidal energy turbines on sediment movement and the undersea environment.
As part of the PhD, she has studied tidal energy in Banks Strait between Clarke Island and Cape Portland in the northeast tip of Tasmania and the Clarence Strait, Northern Territory under the auspices of the AUSTen (Australian Tidal Energy) project.
Her work is to examine whether a tidal farm in Banks Strait could impact the marine environment, in particular, the movement of sediment, rock, gravel and grades of sand on the ocean floor. She has developed a model of sediment transport which will need to be calibrated and will use the funds from the Fellowship to hire a vessel with an echo sounder to survey changes in the movement of undersea sand dunes and calibrate the model.
"When multiple devices are present the energy absorption of the farm may affect the natural tidal flow and therefore the sediment transport characteristics. We need to assess the sediment movement to see if there is a huge impact on the marine environment, it needs to be proved that there is no harm for the marine environment from a tidal farm.” Christelle Auguste
She is a passionate believer in the role of tidal energy to cut greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change and the grant will go a long way to help her achieve her ambitions and said:
"I really want to do something for the planet".
She will also present a conference paper in Naples, Italy in September. This is the third straight Australian Maritime College recipient of the award after Fletcher Thompson in 2017 and Jarrah Orphin in 2018.
“Each year IMarEST assesses a number of applications and this year Christelle’s application stood out. Her attention to detail, while clearly and concisely putting forward her argument, were certainly factors the Management Committee considered as Christelle’s strengths.” Greg Hellessey, chairman of the Management Committee for the Laurie Prandolini Research Fellowship
About the Laurie Prandolini Research Fellowship
The Laurie Prandolini Research Fellowship was established in November 2011 to honour the memory of the late Mr Lawrence Prandolini, OAM, CEng FIMarEST MRINA MIEAust. Laurie made an outstanding contribution to the maritime community in Australia, New Zealand, and South Pacific region, and in particular to IMarEST, nationally and internationally.
The IMarEST awards a single AU$14,000 Laurie Prandolini Research Fellowship every year to a Doctoral candidate or post-Doctoral researcher in either marine engineering, marine science or marine technology. Applicants will be formally affiliated to a university in Australian, New Zealand or the Pacific Islands.
Please find the guidance document and application form here.