Analysis and Design of a Submarine Low-Flow Horizontal-Axis Energy Harvesting System

Phuc Huu Nguyen, Tu Ngoc Nguyen


The paper presents the analysis and design of a low- flow horizontal- axis submarine turbine for energy harvesting technology aligned with the 21st century challenge of mitigating the effects of carbon emission on global warming and climate change in electricity production. The introduced technology is portable, has a compact modular design that makes assembly easy, uses off-the-shelf components to produce power. The modular and simple architecture of snap-and-fit components combined with the least number of both active and passive electrical components results in a highly efficient system for harvesting water energy. As the horizontal axis turbine is very much depending on water flow speed and depth, so a big challenge really exists when designing a turbine- generator operating in a low- flow environment. Therefore, some modifications must be made on the current speed or the turbine by introducing a Venturitube to enable the turbine to work properly in low current speed. In the paper the impeller blade profile calculation is carried out using the simple vortex panel method (VPM) first and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) softwares then are used in verifying the design. Gambit and Fluent softwares are used for blade mesh generation and fluid dynamic performance simulation, respectively. The project target is to design a turbine- generator capable of producing 1 kW 50-Hz 220 VAC power at a depth of 2 m, flow velocity of 1.3 m/s. Comparison is made for performances between VPM- based design and CFD simulation, in terms of lift force, drag force coefficients and flow velocity around the profile. The calculation results, which sufficiently match those obtained from CFD softwares, show the effectiveness of the panel method analysis in use.


energy harvesting, kinetic energy, low- flow turbine-generator system, turbine impeller, vortex panel method

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