Photo: Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes

US sets up $38M funding for hydrokinetic turbine buildout

  • Authorities & Government

The US Department of Energy has dedicated up to $38 million in funding for a new Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program, submarine hydrokinetic and riverine kilo-megawatt systems (SHARKS).

The program seeks to design economically attractive hydrokinetic turbines (HKT) for tidal and riverine currents.

America’s tidal and riverine currents remain a valuable resource for the generation of clean and reliable electricity,” said under secretary of energy Mark W. Menezes. “Developing efficient, economically attractive hydrokinetic turbine technologies will enable the United States to utilize those resources and continue to diversify our energy generation infrastructure and increase grid resiliency.”

“The SHARKS program builds upon the foundation of previous ARPA-E programs focused on utilizing our nation’s natural resources to explore new ways to generate renewable power,” said ARPA-E director Lane Genatowski. “We view this program as a great opportunity to further diversify America’s energy needs, and provide new and efficient energy generation sources for the nation’s grid.”

The SHARKS program will develop HKT system designs while encouraging the application of control co-design, co-design and designing-for-opEx methodologies.

These approaches require a wide range of disciplines to work concurrently during the concept design stage, as opposed to sequentially, and teams will require expertise from various scientific and engineering fields to optimize simultaneously, DOE explains.

SHARKS will fund the development of new HKT designs that represent this challenge; including the development of new solutions for hydrodynamics, mechanical structures, materials, hydro-structural interactions, electrical energy conversion systems, control systems, numerical simulations and experimental validations.

The projects will work towards a reduction in levelised cost of energy (LCOE) of up to 61.5 per cent compared to current state-of-the-art HKT systems.

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