Thursday, February 17, 2011

AFA successfully uses wave energy

Thursday, February 17, 2011
The academy's began this project in fall 2008 Department of aeronautics. The Aviation Department professors have decades of experience, research feedback flow control and fluid dynamics for various military and NASA spacecraft, which is rare and necessary expertise, make a successful wave energy converter. The latest tests are experimental confirmation of computational simulations that started the project.

"We had actually better than 99 percent wave cancellation and efficiency in the simulations," Siegel said.

"Well, everyone sees simulations and says ' good are all these assumptions and derive the equations." The short there is no one believes simulations except the guy did. So is what we got last year at the Academy a very small, we over 1: 300-scale, version of the deep ocean wave in the laboratory we created a wave tank and we created a model of our wave energy converter, we'll use in the open ocean. What came from these first experiments is that we could get to 95 percent of the energy of waves's. "This is confirmed in some way and replicating the results of the simulations", he said.

The remaining five percent was lost, harmonic waves. But improved feedback flow control increases efficiency to 99 percent in subsequent tests.

"It's pretty good reason to believe that if we experiment to scale, it will similarly behavior," Siegel said.

Computational research and physical research were both performed at the Air Force Academy. One of the two options is available in many environments, research, but rarely researchers have both available. Not only is available at the Academy, are actually in the same building.

"This is really one of the great advantages of working in this environment, where we have both excellent computational support and the laboratory has excellent experimental facilities," said Siegel. "In this case we had the wave tank from scratch to build, but we have supported the lab infrastructure,... and this allows us to get more confidence in our results."

Others before him

Seal is not the first to try to conquer the engineering difficulties of harnessing energy from waves of the ocean. But two things prevented this technology to be successful: viability and efficiency.

"There is a wide range of approaches people have taken while attempting to energy from waves of the ocean." You're all up on two questions cooking, ", said Siegel. "One can say that nothing in the open ocean for more than six months at a time, survived" and second, what we just out now is not efficient.

"So would we care why efficiency in the end?" Efficiency in the production of electricity boils, has to pay what the consumer of your electric bill at the end of the month. For ocean wave energy is fair to say it, it just now is competitive with other forms of renewable energy sources, and at the same time, get the devices in the ocean we put out the next best storm destroyed. "The two questions we try to address are so."

Several adaptations of which the largest is submerged platform to design the converter part a floating fixed converter survivability. This represents the converter the surface risks created by big storms on the ocean surface, organizations attempts to demonstrate wave energy converter technology, which have been the downfall of others removed.

Cadet role in research

Cadet participation is an integral part of the procurement and collect the results for this project, which promotes Cadet education and scientific research. For Academy cadets major in aeronautical engineering research is a requirement and every semester has Aero majors work side-by side with professors on research and data collection. The cadets, who recently introduced to this Cadet 1st class Caitlin Miller, who was one of several joined the wave energy project last year counts.

"Last semester, we pretty much worked with researchers that the computational simulations validate experimental results you did", Miller said. "It was much cooler than I expected." I thought it was particularly interesting because renewable energy one is on of the great things people find especially given the finite supply of natural resources. The potential energy of the waves, be the next big renewable energy source is a pretty cool thing to include. "

Miller further your exploration of wave energy this semester as part of an independent study course.

The next level

The current NSF grant runs until September 2011, and other federal agency provides $400,000 follow-on financing literally to take the wave energy converter to the next level.

"What we have now is a grant from the Department of energy and finance to do large scale tests." It's for an 18-month time frame, basically look at two tests campaigns offshore Technology Research Center at Texas A & M, said Siegel.

The Center has one of the world's largest wave tank farm, to allow the test for a greater wave energy converters, and finally allow, testing the three wave energy converters at the same time. "It allows us to take this a step further" said Siegel. "Currently we have a 1: 300-scale in our lab to experiment." The next stage is to do, 1: 10 scale test. "

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