Lehigh U Gets Funds to Tune Up Verdant’s Tidal Turbine

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Arindam Banerjee, an associate professor of mechanical engineering and mechanics and his team recently received a $250,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) as part of the organization’s Partnerships for Innovation program to design a pylon with fairings to improve Verdant’s turbine performance.

“Verdant’s turbine is a downstream turbine, which means the flow goes over the nacelle where the electronics and generator are located, before it hits the rotor blades . “But as the water flows around the pylon (the tower that supports the nacelle and rotor), the flow is disturbed and creates a velocity deficit, which reduces the amount of energy that is available to the turbine. In addition, vortex shedding from the pylon introduces periodic disturbances in the flow which is known to reduce the life of the rotor blades themselves,” Banerjee explains.

“We’re trying to create a fairing, which is just an enclosure on the pylon, that can steer the wake away from the rotor blade, and reduce the energy loss,” continues Banerjee. “In Verdant’s previous generation design, they had a fairing that was essentially a straight plate, and we found through some preliminary laboratory experiments at Lehigh that it was a poor design.”

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