Description: The kinetic energy in river streams, tidal currents, or other artificial water channels has been used as a feasible source of renewable power through different conversion systems. Thus, hydrokinetic energy conversion systems are attracting worldwide interest as another form of distributed alternative energy. Because these systems are still in early stages of development, the basic approaches need significant research. The main challenges are not only to have efficient systems, but also to convert energy more economically so that the cost-benefit analysis drives the growth of this alternative energy form. One way to view this analysis is in terms of the energy conversion efficiency per unit cost. This study presents a detailed assessment of a prototype hydrokinetic energy system along with power output costs. This experimental study was performed using commercial low-cost blades of 20 in diameter inside a tank with water flow speed up to 1.3 m/s. The work was divided into two stages: (a) a fixed-pitch blade configuration, using a radial permanent magnet generator (PMG), and (b) the same hydrokinetic turbine, with a variable-pitch blade and an axial-flux PMG. The results indicate that even though the efficiency of a simple blade configuration is not high, the power coefficient is in the range of other, more complicated designs/prototypes. Additionally, the low manufacturing and operation costs of this system offer an option for low-cost distributed power applications.
Date: August 2013
Creator: Davila Vilchis, Juana Mariel
Partner: UNT Libraries