COLORADO SPRINGS, Dec. 1 (UPI) — U.S. researchers say they’ve developed a durable and efficient ocean wave-energy system that could be placed at any ocean location or depth.
The aerospace researchers from the U.S. Air Force Academy said their system uses lift, instead of drag, to turn a turbine’s propeller blades, with gear-driven or direct-drive generators converting the wave energy into electric energy. They noted active controls can pivot the blades to prevent damage to the system when storms produce wave energy of destructive force.
The researchers, led by Stefan Siegel, use a cycloidal propeller — a design now in wide use for propellers of tugboats, ferries and other highly maneuverable ships. They said they can change the propeller’s orientation from horizontal to vertical, as well as developing control systems for each propeller blade.
The scientists said they are currently using laboratory models less than 3.2 feet in diameter. A larger version that is to be 131 feet across is to be tested next year at a tsunami wave basin at Oregon State University.
The findings were presented last month in Minneapolis during a meeting of the American Physical Society.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International