New system to harness energy from ocean currents

Jul 02, 2013

Researchers at the UPM, within the framework of PROCODAC-GESMEY project, have participated in the construction and testing of the prototype of a device to harness energy from ocean currents able to work in deep water.

In with the Astilleros Balenciaga company and the Fundación Centro Tecnológico Soermar, researchers at the Group of R&D GITERM, assigned to the Higher Technical School of Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, are participating at the PROCODAC project, focused on the design, construction and testing on a marine environment of an experimentation prototype at a ten to one scale of what would be an industrial unit able to provide a 1MW of electricity (GESMEY project). This prototype is complemented by an underwater buoy that was designed to operate in areas of 40 metres of depth.

The test results were very successful and have confirmed that this prototype can produce the expected energy and to be maneuvered by remote control, what can be of interest to use it in future underwater power plants.

Today, to is an issue of interest, particularly those related to sea. The first generation of systems of harnessing energy from ocean currents was only feasible in areas of maximum depth of 30-50 metres (because the generators were joined at the bottom) and its maintenance was expensive. Consequently, second-generation systems came out: anchoring systems with diverse solutions that allow us a submerged operation with the possibility to put afloat the main elements for its maintenance.

The tested prototype of the GESMEY project belongs to these second-generation systems, the design is protected by patents and the co-owner is the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid within a Framework Agreement signed between UPM and Soermar.

The main unit of the prototype includes, as we can see on the image, a structure of stainless steel with a central body and three peripheral parts joined by arms. The generator, the multiplier, and the instrumentation system are inside while the rotor that captures is outside.

During the development of the project, tests of integration and the tune-up were conducted in the LEEys Lab of the ETSIN and at the shipyard. They also conducted sea trials divided into tests of maneuvers and trailer. The project was complemented with a research on hydrodynamics and structures as well as maneuvers and energy control. These studies were embodied in various numerical simulations.

The test results were very successful and have confirmed that the prototype has accomplished their objectives by reducing costs of construction, installation and maintenance. In addition, the development and construction of these units of marine renewable energy production are affordable for a medium sized shipyard.

Explore further: Research shows how householders could stay warm for less simply by storing heat better

Related Stories

Engineering applied to cognitive rehabilitation

Jul 01, 2013

Within the CogWatch European project, coordinated by the University of Birmingham, researchers at the Higher Technical School of Telecommunications Engineering and the Higher Technical School of Industrial Engineering of ...

A new clean nuclear fusion reactor has been designed

Jan 14, 2013

A researcher at the Universidad politécnica de Madrid (UPM, Spain) has patented a nuclear fusion reactor by inertial confinement that, apart from be used to generate electric power in plants, can be applied ...

Boost for wave energy: half the Wave Hub berths now filled

Feb 15, 2012

Two of the four berths at an EU-funded grid-connected offshore marine-energy test site have now been filled. Wave Hub, located off the Cornish coast in the United Kingdom, is the largest test site of its type in the world. ...

Enhanced solar power by dry-cooled energy generation

May 22, 2013

A cutting edge system is being developed to deploy more solar-based energy plants, enabling the delivery of cleaner power more efficiently, while keeping Europe at the leading edge of energy technologies.

Recommended for you

Building a better battery

1 hour ago

Imagine an electric car with the range of a Tesla Model S - 265 miles - but at one-fifth the $70,000 price of the luxury sedan. Or a battery able to provide many times more energy than today's technology ...

Researchers find way to turn sawdust into gasoline

5 hours ago

Researchers at KU Leuven's Centre for Surface Chemistry and Catalysis have successfully converted sawdust into building blocks for gasoline. Using a new chemical process, they were able to convert the cellulose ...

Nanodot team aims to charge phones in less than a minute

10 hours ago

The world of smartphone users, which is a very large base indeed, is ripe for better battery solutions and an Israel-based company has an attractive solution in store, in the form of nanodot batteries that ...

Computer to simulate harbor porpoises

Nov 24, 2014

Researchers at Aarhus University, Denmark, use a computer model to predict the impact of new offshore wind farms on the population of harbour porpoises in the North Sea. A consortium of international energy ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.