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Hydrokinetic turbines in river and tidal applications The case study of the Archimedean-Type Hydrokinetic Turbine

Τρίτη 10 Ιανουαρίου 2023 και ώρα 15:00

Τμήμα Πολιτικών Μηχανικών, Αμφιθέατρο «Ε.Ν. Μαστρογιάννης»

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Τμήματος, αλλά και άλλων Τμημάτων, με ομιλητή τον:

Gianluca ZITTI
Assistant Professor

Department of Civil and Building Engineering and Architecture,
Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona, Italy


One fundamental societal challenge for the coming decades is the use of renewable energy resources, towards sustainable development. Towards such goal, hydrokinetic turbines are very promising tools, with reference to all aspects (environmental, economic and social) and the design of new hydrokinetic energy conversion systems is currently object of research for the energetic exploitation of fluvial and tidal currents. Hydrokinetic technology operates with little or no water head and, even if their efficiency is not comparable to the one of traditional hydropower plants, the number and size of required infrastructures are minimal. The typical constituents of hydropower plants, i.e. the water diversion structure, the intake, the pen-stock, the equipment housing and the discharge tank are not necessary for the functioning of hydrokinetics turbines. The absence of these permanent infrastructures reduces the impacts on the ecosystem and facilitates the installation and maintenance in remote areas. For these reasons, hydrokinetic systems have been used since ancient times (Archimedes turbine, watermill), are still employed for electricity production in rural areas (where distances are large, population are small and demand for energy is low), and are currently object of research and development to increase their efficiency and application in new contexts (e.g. the exploitation of tidal currents). In this seminar, the functioning of a typical hydrokinetic system will be illustrated, including some examples of traditional and innovative devices and applications in different context (river and maritime). The main physical and theoretical arguments for the evaluation of the hydrokinetic-turbines performance will be briefly introduced (Betz theory, efficiency curves), with emphasis on the applicability and related limits. Finally the case study of the experimental and numerical research on an innovative turbine, the Archimedean-Type Hydrokinetic Turbine, will be presented. The novelties of this turbine, similar to the well-known Archimedean Screw used in several small hydropower plants, are the lack of any water canalization, the slender turbine axis and the inclined blades.

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