RAFT: Reconfigurable Array of High-Efficiency Ducted Turbines for Hydrokinetic Energy Harvesting

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Program:
SHARKS
Award:
$3,900,000
Location:
Ann Arbor,
Michigan
Status:
ACTIVE
Project Term:
09/20/2021 - 09/19/2024
Website:

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:

The project team, led by the University of Michigan, proposes the RAFT concept as a solution for hydrokinetic energy harvesting. The project aims to develop multi-physics models, design processes, and optimization tools; augment control and system health monitoring algorithms; demonstrate novel RAFT concepts; and deliver an integrated solution for riverine and tidal applications. The project team brings expertise in hydrodynamics, structures, electrical systems, iterative optimization, and control co-design. The proposed RAFT, made up of multiple micro-turbines, has a modularized architecture with reconfigurable units, making it adaptable to different applications and marine environments. The innovative new turbine designs, along with distributed load control and regulator concepts, significantly reduce the levelized cost of energy. In-situ real-time optimization-based control and distributed continuous system health monitoring optimize RAFT's features to achieve performance, resiliency, reliability, and cost targets. Extensive modeling and experimental validations will mitigate identified technical risks.

Potential Impact:

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

Security:

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

Environment:

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.

Economy:

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.

Contact

ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Mario Garcia-Sanz
Project Contact:
Prof. Jing Sun
Press and General Inquiries Email:
ARPA-E-Comms@hq.doe.gov
Project Contact Email:
jingsun@umich.edu

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Release Date:
11/24/2020