U.S. Funds Hydrokinetic Turbine Technology Development
The U.S. Department of Energy has announced up to $38 million in funding for the design of economically attractive hydrokinetic turbines for tidal and riverine currents.
The Submarine Hydrokinetic And Riverine Kilo-megawatt Systems (SHARKS) program seeks to provide new and efficient energy generation sources for the nation’s grid.
Tidal and riverine energy resources have the advantage of being highly reliable and predictable and are often co-located with demand centers. The turbine devices can be designed with low visual profiles and minimal environmental impact.
They are also uniquely suited for micro-grid applications, supplying energy to remote communities and other “blue economy” and utility-scale applications. Hydrokinetic energy can also be used for climatological observation, aquaculture, desalination, ocean floor and seawater mining, disaster recovery, powering isolated communities and autonomous underwater vehicle support.
Currently, significant technical and environmental barriers make current hydrokinetic turbine systems prohibitively expensive. SHARKS will fund the development of solutions for hydrodynamics, mechanical structures, materials, hydro-structural interactions, electrical energy conversion systems, control systems, numerical simulations and experimental validations. SHARKS projects will work towards a reduction in Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) of up to 61.5 percent compared to current state-of-the-art hydrokinetic turbine systems.