Concepts NREC Discusses Advanced Water Power Technology Development

06.12.2010

The turbomachinery company is working on multiple projects for the U.S. Department of Energy s Wind & Hydropower Technologies Program, including a self-actuating blade articulation mechanism to develop advanced water power technology for recovering energy from ocean waves.

Concepts NREC announces that it will share details of its U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) Wind & Hydropower Technologies Program projects. Green and renewable energy design engineers and manufacturers looking for insight into making turbine designs more efficient will benefit from undertaking discussions about this at the Concepts NREC POWER-GEN booth, number 923, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., December 14-16.

The DoE’s Wind & Hydropower Technologies Program seeks to promote the world s resources as an alternative energy source and provide the United States with diverse, secure and emissions-free energy for the future. Taking advantage of the abundant ocean wave energy requires new technology to increase production efficiencies.

Current Oscillating Water Column (OWC) wave energy conversion (WEC) systems involve closed chambers on floating platforms that enable waves to compress air and force it through high-speed turbines. The excited, oscillating air columns power turbine-generators to convert the air flow to electric energy as waves pass under the platforms.

One project that Concepts NREC representatives will discuss is a self-actuating turbine blade articulation mechanism for use with a conventional Wells turbine. The self-actuating design uses the transient aerodynamic forces in an OWC application to articulate the turbine blade to the correct angle of attack. The objective of this project is to increase the recovery of the wave energy (through increased turbine efficiency and air-flow operating range) and reduce the cost of the OWC system.

Prototype testing of this new self-actuating blade articulation technology will be conducted by the Maine Maritime Academy in the 2nd quarter of 2011, with development plans calling for the eventual deployment to be in a full-size OWC system off of Maui, Hawaii.

“Concepts NREC is excited about its self-actuating blade articulation mechanism developed as part of a U.S. Department of Energy project. It is in its first phase and showing great promise,” says Fred Becker, Director of Sales, Engineering Services, for Concepts NREC. "This approach has the benefit of significantly reducing the cost of turbine assembly as well as increasing turbine performance over a wide range of wave conditions."

Another Concepts NREC DoE Wind & Hydropower Technologies Program project also involves OWC water energy conversion systems. This project s objective, though, is to demonstrate, analytically and via testing, the ability of a fixed-design OWC system to tune itself to improve the energy recovery from a wide range of water wave amplitudes and periods. For this, Concepts NREC engineers are analyzing ways to improve energy recovery efficiency by essentially storing the wave energy in the pneumatic column and timing its release through the OWC turbine.

Concepts NREC’s advanced water power technology developments are part of the company’s overall TurboGreen technologies offerings, which include projects like wind turbine compressors for more efficient wind energy conversion, centrifugal compressors for hydrogen fuel transportation and organic rankine cycle pumps and turbines for recovering geothermal energy.

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