Researchers test East River’s power potential

The St. Anthony Falls Laboratory at the University of Minnesota has received $400,000 to help generate power from New York City’s East River.

SAFL Director Fotis Sotiropoulos will lead a team of researchers to improve the design of underwater turbines used in the Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy project, which is jointly funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Verdant Power, private industry and the university’s Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment.

The goal is to increase the efficiency and performance of multi-turbine arrays. The current test array involves six underwater turbines. Five of those turbines have grid-connected generators. (HydroWorld 3/1/09)

Using computer models from SAFL, researchers will analyze the river’s tides and enhance the kinetic hydropower system so it can generate power from higher water velocities.

SAFL said the strong tides of the East River “wreaked havoc” on earlier turbine designs. In the summer of 2008, however, six newer turbines were installed and have been providing power to a nearby parking garage and supermarket.

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