Verdant retrofits tidal energy turbines in New York City

Verdant Power Inc. retrofitted two tidal turbines with redesigned rotors and successfully reinstalled the units at its Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy project in New York’s East River.

Verdant announced Sept. 17 it retrofitted the next generation rotors onto the turbines within a day’s time, employing local companies. Verdant said the fifth-generation rotors replace fourth-generation units that experienced structural failures in 2007.

The company said it optimized the new rotor assembly for enhanced structural strength. The rotor was tested at the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory and passed tests without incident, it added.

�We are extremely pleased to have these next-generation, NREL-tested rotors on our turbines and operating in the East River,� Verdant Chief Executive Ron Smith said. �As with all our efforts at the RITE project, this retrofit advances the technology for generating tidal power, bringing this much needed form of renewable energy one step closer to global implementation.�

The company’s kinetic hydropower systems use axial-flow turbines installed underwater to convert the kinetic energy of tides and rivers into electricity. The project is progressing from an initial demonstration system to a complete system of turbines that could generate up to 10 MW.

The RITE project’s newly retrofitted 35-KW turbines are connected to the grid and deliver electricity to a supermarket and parking structure in New York City.

Since 2005, Verdant Power has gathered operational and environmental data from turbines at RITE, preparing to apply for an operating license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in 2008. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority has invested more than $2 million in the project, which eventually could deploy hundreds of free-flow tidal power units.

Verdant proposed one of 14 waterpower research projects that the Department of Energy named Sept. 18 to share in $7.3 million as partners with DOE in testing, demonstration, validation, and development of advanced waterpower technologies. (HNN 9/18/08) Verdant proposes to research improved structure and fabrication of large, high-power, cost-effective kinetic hydro system rotors.

Verdant is involved in project development at other sites, including the 15-MW St. Lawrence River hydrokinetic project near Cornwall, Ontario. (HNN 4/30/08) It also is a partner with the Florida Atlantic University Center for Excellence in Ocean Energy Technology, which proposed projects off the coast of Florida. (HNN 4/22/08)

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