India presses ahead with wave turbine development

Wave Energy and Fluids Engineering Laboratory test facility (Photo: Abdus Samad)

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras have begun laboratory testing on a turbine designed for oscillating water column (OWC) type of wave energy device ahead of testing in the Indian Ocean.

The testing on an ‘impulse’ turbine with a unidirectional rotor began on August 16, 2017, at Wave Energy and Fluids Engineering Laboratory in Chennai, a city on the east coast of India.

The research is led by Abdus Samad, Associate Professor at IIT Madras, who said the laboratory testing on a 300-mm turbine, rated at 300W, will continue for another month.

Turbine design being tested at IIT Madras (Photo: Abdus Samad)

The team of researchers is testing for different frequencies and wave heights with different electrical loads to optimize the impulse turbine at a laboratory which features a bi-directional air flow system.

The purpose of the laboratory is to test the turbines being researched by India’s National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT).

Following the completion of laboratory testing, the turbine will be fitted on a backward bend ducted buoy (BBD) floating device with an L-shaped oscillating water column (OWC) which will be trialed in ocean environment off Ennore in Chennai.

The ocean trials are planned to start by the end of this year, or in the first half of 2018, and will be conducted by NIOT, Samad confirmed.

Once the project is complete, it is expected that the OWC device will have a big jump in the technology readiness level and will move towards commercial production.

With a 7500 km of coastline, India has the potential to produce 40GW of wave power, which is equivalent to 13% of India’s total present electric production capacity which stands at 330GW, added Samad.

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