A conceptual study of floating axis water current turbine for low-cost energy capturing from river, tide and ocean currents

Hiromichi Akimoto, Kenji Tanaka, Kiyoshi Uzawa – Renewable Energy, September 2013


The cost of utilizing kinetic energy of river stream, tidal and ocean current is considered to be higher than that of wind power generation because of difficulties in construction and maintenance of devices installed in seawater. As a solution to the problem, the authors propose a new concept of water stream turbine. The main idea is in the manner of supporting turbine. Although it is similar to a vertical axis turbine, the direction of turbine axis is not firmly fixed and its tilt angle is passively adjustable to the stream velocity. Since it does not have to keep the turbine axis in upright position, required structural strength and weight of the device will be reduced significantly. This paper describes the application ranging from the small hydro power in river streams to large application of tidal and ocean current turbine. In the large capacity plant for tidal stream and ocean current, the main mechanism of turbine axis support is the same as that of the wind turbine authors proposed in the previous paper. It leads to the further opportunity of cost reduction. The sample design of a multi-megawatt ocean current turbine shows the possibility of high economic performance of the concept. The results show that the cost of energy in the concept can be comparable to a land based wind turbine.



1 Comment

Filed under Component Development, Modeling

One response to “A conceptual study of floating axis water current turbine for low-cost energy capturing from river, tide and ocean currents

  1. bpolagye

    The authors’ cite a prior study that demonstrates increased power output in skewed/inclined flows. The experience with horizontal axis turbines is a decrease in power output when the flow is misaligned in this manner (and a recent study we conducted with a scaled cross-flow turbine experienced significant reductions in performance with inclined flow). Does anyone have other first-hand experience with cross-flow/vertical axis turbines in inclined flow?

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