UNO Gets NSF Grant to Develop Motion Control for Ocean Current Turbines
The University of New Orleans School of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering has received a $121,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop ocean current turbines that will be able to convert the energy of the sea into electricity. The project, "Collaborative Research: Optimized Harvesting of Hydrokinetic Power by Ocean Current Turbine Farms Using Integrated Control," is led by Nikolas Xiros, an associate professor of naval architecture and marine engineering.
According to Xiros, harnessing marine renewable energy sources has the potential to far exceed the world's current power generation needs. One of those energy sources is open ocean currents that are located in deep ocean areas but flow near the sea surface.
The purpose of this research project is to develop turbines that can convert the vast kinetic energy reserves of the ocean into usable electric power. Thus far, no large-scale commercial production prototypes have been constructed or tested.
The Department of Energy has designated three national centers to investigate solutions that help accelerate the pace at which marine renewable energy delivers power to the grid. One of those centers, the Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center at Florida Atlantic University, will collaborate on this project with the University of New Orleans and the Center for Energy Harvesting Materials and Systems at Virginia Tech. UNO is leading the consortium, and the total grant budget exceeds $360,000.
The goal of the partnership is to help the emerging ocean current energy industry overcome technical hurdles in order to make the technology commercially viable.