Linear inlet optimization for capture of river kinetic energy


The kinetic energy in a flow such as a river or ocean current can be harvested by a partially or fully submerged turbine. Placing the turbine within a carefully designed channel has the potential to significantly increase the amount of energy that can be harvested. Computational Fluid Dynamic simulations have been performed to study the influence of the channel inlet geometry on the kinetic energy flow rate through the throat of the channel. These simulations show that placing the turbine within a converging-diverging flow channel can significantly increase the performance of the machine. For a design space constrained by the approximate dimensions of a lower-Mississippi River barge and limited to flow channels with 2D inlets with plane walls, a 2:1 contraction ratio with an inlet half-angle of approximately 15 degrees maximizes the power available to drive the turbine.

Publication Title

AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting, 2018