Tidal Energy System for On-Shore Power Generation

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Addressing the urgent need to develop LCOE competitive renewable energy solutions for US energy security and to replace fossil-fuel generation with the associated benefits to environment impacts including a reduction in CO2 emissions, this Project focused on the advantages of using hydraulic energy transfer (HET) in large-scale Marine Hydrokinetic (MHK) systems for harvesting off-shore tidal energy in US waters. A recent DOE resource assessment, identifies water power resources have a potential to meet 15% of the US electric supply by 2030, with MHK technologies being a major component. The work covered a TRL-4 laboratory proof-in-concept demonstration plus modeling of a ... continued below

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Bruce, Allan J June 26, 2012.

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Description

Addressing the urgent need to develop LCOE competitive renewable energy solutions for US energy security and to replace fossil-fuel generation with the associated benefits to environment impacts including a reduction in CO2 emissions, this Project focused on the advantages of using hydraulic energy transfer (HET) in large-scale Marine Hydrokinetic (MHK) systems for harvesting off-shore tidal energy in US waters. A recent DOE resource assessment, identifies water power resources have a potential to meet 15% of the US electric supply by 2030, with MHK technologies being a major component. The work covered a TRL-4 laboratory proof-in-concept demonstration plus modeling of a 15MW full scale system based on an approach patented by NASA-JPL, in which submerged high-ratio gearboxes and electrical generators in conventional MHK turbine systems are replaced by a submerged hydraulic radial pump coupled to on-shore hydraulic motors driving a generator. The advantages are; first, the mean-time-between-failure (MTBF), or maintenance, can be extended from approximately 1 to 5 years and second, the range of tidal flow speeds which can be efficiently harvested can be extended beyond that of a conventional submerged generator. The approach uses scalable, commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) components, facilitating scale-up and commercialization. All the objectives of the Project have been successfully met (1) A TRL4 system was designed, constructed and tested. It simulates a tidal energy turbine, with a 2-m diameter blade in up to a 2.9 m/sec flow. The system consists of a drive motor assembly providing appropriate torque and RPM, attached to a radial piston pump. The pump circulates pressurized, environmentally-friendly, HEES hydraulic fluid in a closed loop to an axial piston motor which drives an electrical generator, with a resistive load. The performance of the components, subsystems and system were evaluated during simulated tidal cycles. The pump is contained in a tank for immersion testing. The COTS pump and motor were selected to scale to MW size and were oversized for the TRL-4 demonstration, operating at only 1-6% of rated values. Nevertheless, in for 2-18 kW drive power, in agreement with manufacturer performance data, we measured efficiencies of 85-90% and 75-80% for the pump and motor, respectively. These efficiencies being 95-96% at higher operating powers. (2) Two follow-on paths were identified. In both cases conventional turbine systems can be modified, replacing existing gear box and generator with a hydraulic pump and on-shore components. On a conventional path, a TRL5/6 15kW turbine system can be engineered and tested on a barge at an existing site in Maine. Alternatively, on an accelerated path, a TRL-8 100kW system can be engineered and tested by modifying a team member's existing MHK turbines, with barge and grid-connected test sites in-place. On both paths the work can be expedited and cost effective by reusing TRL-4 components, modifying existing turbines and using established test sites. (3) Sizing, performance modeling and costing of a scaled 15MW system, suitable for operation in Maine's Western Passage, was performed. COTS components are identified and the performance projections are favorable. The estimated LCOE is comparable to wind generation with peak production at high demand times. (4) We determined that a similar HET approach can be extended to on-shore and off-shore wind turbine systems. These are very large energy resources which can be addressed in parallel for even great National benefit. (5) Preliminary results on this project were presented at two International Conferences on renewable energy in 2012, providing a timely dissemination of information. We have thus demonstrated a proof-in-concept of a novel, tidal HET system that eliminates all submerged gears and electronics to improve reliability. Hydraulic pump efficiencies of 90% have been confirmed in simulated tidal flows between 1 and 3 m/s, and at only 1-6% of rated power. Total system efficiencies have also been modeled, up to MW-scale, for tidal, and wind, systems. Projected efficiencies are between 81% (full rated flow) and 86% (1/3 rated flow). This high efficiency in a wide operating range compares favorably with conventional systems having a performance range of 87% (full rated flow) to 0% (1/3 rated flow) efficiency. An accelerated path to commercialization is identified, leveraging conventional MHK system technology and COTS components to meet the urgent need for renewable energy generation.

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  • Report No.: DOEEE0003636
  • Grant Number: EE0003636
  • DOI: 10.2172/1046042 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1046042
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc828949

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  • June 26, 2012

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 9:45 a.m.

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  • Dec. 9, 2016, 9:47 p.m.

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Bruce, Allan J. Tidal Energy System for On-Shore Power Generation, report, June 26, 2012; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc828949/: accessed October 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.