HydroMINE: Simple, Modular, and Scalable

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Project Term:
12/03/2021 - 12/02/2024

Critical Need:

Significant technical and environmental barriers make current Hydrokinetic Turbines (HKT) systems prohibitively expensive. Hydrokinetic energy systems’ low technical readiness calls for a system-level approach that will include hydrodynamics, structural dynamics, control systems, power electronics, grid connections, and performance optimization, while minimizing potential negative environmental effects and maximizing system reliability. The challenging, multi-disciplinary nature of this design space means many systems haven’t moved beyond the theoretical design phase. Submarine Hydrokinetic And Riverine Kilo-megawatt Systems (SHARKS) aims to use control co-design (CCD), co-design (CD), and designing for operation and maintenance (DFO) methodologies to develop radically new HKTs for tidal and riverine applications that drastically reduce the levelized cost of energy (LCOE). This program aims to address industry-wide limitations to provide economical hydrokinetic power at micro-grid and utility scale.

Project Innovation + Advantages:

HydroMINE is a disruptive and elegantly simple modular system with a relatively small internal propeller driven by pressure from a stationary hydrofoil structure to a separate, internal flow stream. The internal propeller drives an ordinary electric direct drive generator. The size of the stationary HydroMINE hydrofoil structure is comparable to an equivalent ordinary rotor of the same swept area producing a similar amount of energy. The external floating structure is passive, only yawing slowly with the ocean tide or river flow direction. The internal propeller is isolated from debris and wildlife, so HydroMINE is safe for the marine environment, and extremely robust. It has a low maintenance cost, resulting in a lower cost of energy. It is manufactured with steel plates with the existing supply chain and integrates easily with ordinary marine structures for flexible deployments. The design is scalable from a community size (kW) to utility level (multi-MW), making HydroMINE immediately commercially relevant.

Potential Impact:

Hydrokinetic energy is an abundant renewable energy source that presents unique opportunities and benefits.


Diverse renewable energy resources can boost grid resiliency and reduce infrastructure vulnerabilities.


HKTs, used to capture energy from tides, rivers, canals, and ocean currents, optimize a clean, renewable power source that could help reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.


Hydrokinetic energy has applications beyond solely providing power to electrical grids. It is ideally suited to the emerging technologies and markets built upon ocean- and riverine-based infrastructure, including climatological observation, aquaculture, desalination, ocean floor and seawater mining, disaster recovery, powering isolated communities, and autonomous underwater vehicle support.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Mario Garcia-Sanz
Project Contact:
Dr. Carsten Westergaard
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