US National Science Foundation funds tidal energy research

National Science Foundation (NSF) of the United States has awarded a three-year grant to Arindam Banerjee from the Lehigh University to study the impact of free-stream turbulence on tidal turbines.

Arindam Banerjee, an associate professor at the University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering & Mechanics, and his group will investigate the performance and durability of tidal turbines by mimicking the turbulent marine environment in a laboratory setting through the use of an active turbulence generator.

The proposed work will seek to address several outstanding scientific challenges that need to be overcome in order to increase the performance of the turbines and accelerate the technological readiness level of these devices, according to the University of Lehigh.

Banerjee’s interest and expertise lie in multi-scale fluid-dynamics with emphasis on energy and biological systems, while his research goal is to enhance the limited understanding of fundamental issues related to space and scale interactions in turbulent flows.

With more than 50% of the population living within 50 miles of coastline, there is vast potential to provide clean, renewable electricity to communities and cities across the United States using marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) technologies.

Through the commercialization of this energy technology, tidal energy resources have the potential of generating 300 terawatt-hours per year (TWh/year) in the United States, powering roughly 27 million homes, the University said.