Third-year mechanical engineering PhD student Chris Ruhl '16 '17G was recently selected by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) as one of three graduate students nationwide to conduct research through the Marine and Hydrokinetic Graduate Student Research Program.
Since returning to his alma mater in 2019, Ruhl has been working in the field of tidal energy harvesting, a rapidly growing renewable energy technology that aims to harness the kinetic energy in our world’s tidal straights and channels. In this video, Ruhl explains how his research on tidal turbines may someday help tidal energy become a viable alternative energy source.
Ruhl is advised in his studies by Lehigh professor Arindam Banerjee, chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics. Their research includes experiments designed to create turbulent flow conditions in a laboratory setting that mimic the flow of a real-world tidal energy harvesting site. Studying tidal energy equipment and flow phenomena in a laboratory setting offers a much lower-cost, lower-risk environment than full-scale field studies.