In the realm of water infrastructures, a significant reservoir of untapped hydropower lies dormant, waiting to be harnessed for sustainable energy solutions. The key to unlocking this potential lies in the utilization of oscillating bodies as a means of power recovery.
Hydropower, traditionally associated with large dams and river systems, is now being redefined with the exploration of hidden energy sources within existing water infrastructure. The concept involves the strategic implementation of oscillating bodies, which can effectively capture and convert the latent energy present in the water flow.
For optimal energy recovery, it is crucial for the deployed energy harvesting devices to attain what is known as “lock-in conditions.” This state ensures that the oscillations are perfectly synchronized with the natural frequency of the water flow, maximizing the efficiency of energy extraction. Achieving lock-in conditions is a delicate balance that requires precision and careful consideration during the design and implementation of the harvesting devices.
To get this balance spot-on, a careful multi-physics optimization is needed in the hydraulic-electric design. This optimization aims to sync up with the fluid flow, ensuring the water’s natural rhythm matches the system’s frequency. The whole idea is to pull energy from the vibrations of the cylinder tail, which requires detailed Fluid-structure-interaction (FSI) calculations.
This scientific journey involves lots of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations and experiments. The goal is to understand how oscillating bodies behave, especially when considering factors like profile shape, material, and where certain components are placed.
After this thorough process, a strong 1D model is created, complete with a detailed database outlining expected performance based on water flow, stiffness, and damping—covering both the fluid, the structure, and the control system. This progress is a significant step forward in demystifying hydropower systems, paving the way for more effective and sustainable energy extraction.