Directory: Spindrift Hydrokinetic Energy Device

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&lt&lt A Congress:Top 100 Technologies -- RD Energy Technology &gt&gt

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Image:Spindrift energy device 3-moving-parts 300.jpg

"Grid-ready and cheaper than coal"

Compiled by Congress:Founder:Sterling D. Allan

September 13, 2010

Pure Energy Systems News

The Spindrift hydrokinetic power generator is an ocean wave harnessing technology that takes advantage of the difference between wave height on the surface versus water stability deeper down. It is a buoy system that locates the alternator in the surface buoy, with a turbine down deep, by which water is accelerated via a venture shape through which the water flows.

Inventor Brian Moffat says:

: "We have designed a hydrokinetic electrical power generation device that is simple, inexpensive, low-maintenance and durable. We estimate that it will generate electricity at 1.5 cents/kWh, versus 3.0 cents/kWh for coal and 3-40 cents/kWh for existing renewables. And, this technology can scale without limit."

: "In summary, Spindrift energy devices will have a lower capital cost and a lower power generation cost than any other power generation technology in use today. In fact, they will generate power for less than 1/2 the cost of the power currently generated by coal fired electrical power plants. Farms with Spindrift energy devices will be able to scale virtually without limit -- enough to supply most of the world's energy needs. The power generated by Spindrift energy devices will be consistent and predictable, making it suitable for base load power for utilities. Spindrift energy devices are environmentally benign."

They've built and tested several small prototypes. The small devices are efficient - the venturi effect works in both small and large venturi tubes.

In prototype testing, they measured an average amplification of the water speed through the venture valve at 5.18-fold for waves of just 1.5 feet in height.

Top 100 Assessment

On Sept. 14, 2010, inventor Brian Moffat presented the first draft of the following document for consideration by the There was an error working with the wiki: Code[1], based on a 1-10 ranking for several factors in Congress:Technology Criteria. The following is an updated revision presented on Sept. 21, 2010. A Word doc version of this can be downloaded here.

Submitted by: Brian Moffat

Company name: Spindrift Energy

Product / Technology: Hydrokinetic wave energy device

I. Renewable

: 10 Sustainability

: 10 Replenishability

: 10 Feasibility of recycling of components composed of rare elements

: 10 Non-depleting energy source

: 10 Ubiquitous energy source

II. Environmental Impact

: 10 Containment

: 8 Duration

:: Expected lifetime of device is 20 years. The only moving components exposed to the seawater will be part of a shaft and the turbine. They’ll be protected from corrosion by an “impressed current”. Cavitation may require replacing the turbine blades every 10 years.

: 10 CO2, NOx and other emissions

: 10 EMF radiation

: 10 caustic, toxic, poisonous

: 10 noisy

: 10 smelly

: 8 strip mining, scarring of land

:: Each device is constructed mainly of concrete. About 1 ton of steel. One alternator (some steel, copper, etc.).

: 9 impact on animals

:: The rate of water flow at the venturi mouths oscillates between 0 and 3 m/s. But it reverses about every 4 seconds. Most swimming animals should either be stopped by the grates, or be able to swim out of the mouths. Only small, slow animals (e.g. baby jellyfish) at depths of about 50 and 150 feet should be vulnerable.

: 8 visual impact

:: Some initial farms may be located tens of miles from shore, and tops of buoys may be visible from land. Later deployments will be hundreds of miles from shore – no visibility.

III. Cost (cents / kwh)

: 10 Device cost

:: Each 500 kW device will cost about $170K, device capital cost of $340 / kW. Lower than any other power technology.

: 8 Manufacturing and marketing costs

:: Manufacturing is primarily of concrete shell of buoy and tube. Low marketing costs – mostly long-term power-purchase agreements.

: 4 Pre-construction costs including studies and obtaining permits

:: Permitting costs likely to be high – unless government streamlines process at some point in the future.

: 6 Installation / construction costs

:: Near-shore installations that use subsea cable will incur cost of about $1M / mile to purchase and install cable. Installed capital cost for farm of 100 devices, 20 miles from shore, is expected to be about $1,000 / kW.

: 7 Commissioning and testing costs

:: Devices will be tested at shore. Cost of “plug-and-play” installation into farm grid expected to be low on a per-kW basis.

: 10 Fuel costs

: 9 Servicing / Maintenance costs

:: Expected to be $58 / kW / year. Critical portions of venturi throat are self-cleaning due to frequent, rapid surges of seawater. Steel components protected by impressed current. Most significant potential maintenance cost is replacement of turbine blades every 10 years if cavitation is more of a problem than anticipated.

: 9 Replacement parts costs

:: Entire devices can be replaced at a cost of $340 / kW. And, only 3 moving parts.

: 7 Decommissioning and disposal costs

:: Any un-salvageable devices will be stripped of their moving parts (alternator, shaft and turbine), and their other electronic components, and likely sunk to create artificial reefs. Cement is a good surface for such reefs.

: 10 Environmental costs

:: Each device is expected to displace between 28 to 54 tonnes of CO2 (depending on fossil fuel displaced) over its 20-year lifetime.

IV. Credibility of Evidence

: 8 Is the underlying principle sound?

:: The only element of the design not proven in other contexts was the venturi tube when driven by an oscillating and accelerating pattern of water flow. A sea trial showed that the tube worked beautifully when driven by ocean waves.

: 2 Is it well proven?

:: Limited data from one sea trial, and many tank tests, which indicate that venturi tube will work as expected.

: 5 How much data are there to support the underlying principle?

:: The data is limited. However, data do suggest that the device will accelerate water through the venturi tube. And, the technologies to extract that power are mature.

: 3 How solid is the extrapolation to full optimization?

: 1 Number of independent replications?

:: One sea trial validation of venturi tube.

V. Stability / Reliability

: 8 Device performance

:: Each device has only 3 moving parts. The turbine should be reliable –the turbine is bi-directional and has articulating blades but is completely passive. The resistance of the alternator to turning, and the smoothness of its turning, will be controlled dynamically by controlling the current through its field coils.

: 9 Life expectancy

:: Expected life of each device is 20 years. Concrete shell of buoy and tube should be long-lived. Alternator should last 20 years. Corrosion will be prevented with impressed current to all vulnerable components. Possible that turbine blades will need replacing every 10 years.

: 8 Energy source availability (24/7/365)

:: Analysis of historical wave data from NOAA buoys (up to 20 years’ worth per buoy) indicates that Spindrift devices would have capacity factors of about 90%.

VI. Implementation

:10 Manufacturing logistics (feasibility)

:: Creating concrete shell of buoy and venturi tube very similar to methods used to create concrete barges (boats). Manual of construction techniques available from United Nations source.

:10 Scalability

Because they can operate in the deep sea, farms of Spindrift devices can scale virtually without limit. In the deep sea, electrical power would likely be used to create chemical fuels (e.g. methanol) on site. These would then be shipped to shore in tankers.

: 10 Production of scale (low and high feasibility)

: 10 Resources required – materials and tooling availability

:: Simple technology, simple materials, simple tools.

: 8 Ease of installation

:: Installation of subsea power cable, for near-shore installations using such a cable, is most difficult part. Cost of cable and installation is about $1M / mile.

: 7 Applicability

: 7 Serviceability

: 8 Decommissioning

:: Likely to be rather simple. Remove alternator. Remove shaft and turbine. Tow buoy-tube concrete shell to appropriate location. And, sink it, to create an artificial reef.

VII. Safety / Danger to persons

: 10 Explosive

: 10 Could it be modified into a weapon of mass destruction?

: 8 Electrocution hazard

:: Likely to generate high-voltage (at least when sending to shore via subsea power cable). That, plus wet conditions, creates risk for electrocution. Care will be needed.

: 10 Irradiation, etc.

: 10 EMF radiation (non-ionizing)

: 10 Noise

: 10 Vibrations

: 10 Environmental emissions

: 10 - during operation

: 10 -output to environment

: 10 - input fuel source

: 10 - components

: 10 - manufacturing / installation / servicing

: 10 - transport of fuel

VIII. Politics of science

: 8 Encumbrance

: 9 Key personality and associates

: 10 Motivation foundation. “Continuum of greed” to “Good of humanity”

: 8 Involved team – primo talented, experienced, team compatibility

IX. Open-source conducive

: 7 Unambiguous plan publication… any commercial applications must be licensed.

X. Stage of device development

: 3 Stage = one stable prototype [of venturi tube]

In the News

Image:Spindrift energy device 95x95.jpg
Template: 43 / Latest: Directory:Hydro > Directory:Ocean Wave Energy > Directory:Wave buoys > Directory: Spindrift Hydrokinetic Energy Device - This ocean wave harnessing technology takes advantage of the difference between wave height on the surface versus water stability deeper down. It is a buoy system that locates the alternator in the surface buoy, with a turbine down deep, by which water is accelerated via a venture shape through which the water flows. (PESWiki Sept. 13, 2010)


Dealing with brine

On October 04, 2010 8:13 PM mountain, Congress:Member:Michael Riversong wrote:

Went ahead and voted Spindrift as a T50 tech. For some reason i'm not a big fan of ocean energy devices -- mainly because the materials that have to be used are not that well established. We always tend to underestimate what brine can do to metals and plastics.

They mentioned using a venturi tube for part of the effect. That's kind of cool. Perhaps this idea should be taken a step further, and a vortex of some sort should be developed in the device. This might have some side effects in terms of changing the way corrosion works too.

Right now i'm developing a short course in Vortexian Mechanics. A colleague in Finland took some great photos at the Schauberger Museum and has given me permission to link them. Comments on any of the courses, which are being made available online, and always welcome. Will post separately about those soon, in the Forum.


Brian Moffat

email: []