Development of a Sustained Ocean Current-Driven Electric Power Generating System
Small Business Information
7985 Armas Canyon Road, Goleta, CA, 93117
Abstract60119 Swiftly flowing ocean currents represent a significant untapped renewable energy resource for the United States. However, ocean current energy systems have not been economically feasible due to: (1) the difficulty of maintaining system stability while concurrently being able to quickly relocate the system to maximize power generation efficiency as current speeds change at varying depths, and (2) the difficulty of maintaining underwater systems. This project will develop an ocean current turbine, based upon wind turbine design and adapted for operation in the marine environment. This turbine design provides robust, cost-competitive electricity generation and allows for depth-adjustable operation such that power generation may be optimized and extreme velocities and effects of surface traffic and events may be evaded. In particular, this project addresses one of the principal areas of concern, that of controls development and demonstration. Phase I constructed a solids model of the generating platform, identified the distribution of masses and displacements, and developed a complex three-dimensional computational model to predict platform response to operating conditions and controls algorithms. A controls document was established that defines the controls architecture of the platform and establishes a basis for model sensing and actuation of control surfaces. Phase II will expand this effort by constructing a scale physical model of the platform and systems controller, and testing them in the Navy¿s tow tank. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the awardee: The competitive cost of generated electricity, coupled with the development of a native, renewable energy resource should drive rapid commercialization of the proposed current turbine towards large-scale electricity generation. This development should strengthen the nation¿s renewable energy portfolio, contributing significantly to carbon dioxide abatement. The development is also expected to generate significant employment for American shipyards and other industries associated with electric power generation
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