Susana Baston

Susana is an Oceanographer, she always has lived close to the shoreline and she has a lifelong interest in ocean dynamics. She completed an MSc in Science and Technology for Coastal Management at the University of Cantabria (Spain), followed with a PhD at the same department entitled “Long wave propagation in semi-enclosed bays”, awarded in December 2008. As part of her PhD at IH Cantabria she also participated in several projects to restore wetlands, mostly relating to recovering degraded estuarine areas.

In September 2009 she joined ICIT Heriot-Watt University as a post-doctoral researcher for the Marine Renewable Energy Development in Scotland (MREDS) programme. The main objective of this project was to study potential effects of Marine Renewable Energy (MRE) devices on flow behaviour. She successfully implemented the advanced numerical model developed by Stanford University (SUNTANS) to describe the physical hydrographical processes, mainly the tidal propagation and characteristics of the flow, for the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters (PFOW) area. Outputs from this work have been used in research into the effects of hydrokinetic energy on marine ecology and fisheries.

Her recent research is focused on modelling tidal energy extraction, optimisation of tidal turbine arrays and effects of MRE installations on hydrodynamics, using coastal ocean models. Currently she is using Delft3D, a numerical model developed in The Netherlands by Deltares. It is widely used by industry.

Observation is the basis of research and it is the experience of observing flow around Orkney shorelines which makes people aware of the extraordinary characteristics of the hydrodynamics here. Today, Orkney is the focus of MRE development in Europe. The key is having the ability to describe and explain physical processes contributing to these energetic flows in order to make knowledge available to all sectors of society.