DOE awards $35M for hydrokinetic turbine designs

Published on December 01, 2020 by Dave Kovaleski

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is providing $35 million to develop new Hydrokinetic Turbines (HKT) designs for tidal and riverine currents.

The DOE awarded the funding to 11 project teams as part of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy’s (ARPA-E) Submarine Hydrokinetic and Riverine Kilo-megawatt Systems, or SHARKS, program.

“Hydrokinetic energy is an abundant renewable resource that can boost grid resiliency and reduce infrastructure vulnerability, but it is currently a cost prohibitive option compared to other energy generating sources,” ARPA-E Director Lane Genatowski said. “SHARKS teams will address this barrier by designing new, efficient HKT systems that utilize America’s tidal, riverine, and ocean resources to develop economically attractive energy generation opportunities.”

The SHARKS projects address either remote riverine energy, remote tidal energy, utility scale riverine energy, or utility scale tidal energy. Among the awarded teams, the University of Alaska Fairbanks was awarded $3.3 million for its Material and Cost Efficient Modular Riverine Hydrokinetic Energy System. The concept employs floating generator housing and tethered turbine to create a Hydrokinetic Turbine (HKT) system. It has low capital and operating costs and is well suited for community co-design.

Another award went to the Ocean Renewable Power Company of Portland, Me., which got $3.7 million for its Optimized Hydrokinetic Systems. The team proposes a novel hydrokinetic energy system that identifies dynamic couplings between turbine subsystems and components to optimize system mass and performance.