J.T. Hunt and J. Rumker – Technical Report submitted to DOE EERE Wind & Water Power Program, August, 2012
Ocean current energy represents a vast untapped source of renewable energy that exists on the outer continental shelf areas of the 5 major continents. Ocean currents are unidirectional in nature and are perpetuated by thermal and salintiy sea gradients, as well as coriolis forces imparted from the earth’s rotation. This report details THORs Power Method, a breakthrough power control method that can provide dramatic increases to the capacity factor over and above existing marine hydrokinetic (MHK) devices employed in the extraction of energy from ocean currents. THORs Power Method represents a constant speed, variable depth operational method that continually locates the ocean current turbine at a depth at which the rated power of the generator is routinely achieved. Variable depth operation is achieved by using various vertical force effectors, including ballast tanks for variable weight, a hydrodynamic wing for variable lift or down force and drag flaps for variable vehicle drag forces.