U of M researchers help New York City generate clean energy

2009_05_VerdantAResearchers at the University of Minnesota's St. Anthony Falls Laboratory (SAFL) recently received $400,000 to help generate clean energy for New York City. Fotis Sotiropoulos, director of the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, will lead a team of researchers in developing computational models for optimizing underwater turbines to help Verdant Power generate power from tidal, river and ocean currents. Projects under way include the Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy (RITE) project in New York City's East River.

The project is jointly funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and the University of Minnesota's Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment (IREE), in collaboration with Verdant Power, Sandia National Labs, and private industry.

Sotiropoulos and his team will use the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory's powerful computational fluid dynamics tools for analyzing the design and enhancing the environmental compatibility of the turbine rotors, turbine system, and array levels. Turbine wakes will be analyzed in order to determine turbine-turbine and turbine-channel interactions for array optimization and feedback to the turbine design process.

2009_05_VerdantBVerdant is a world leader in developing free-flow turbine technologies, and the company has already installed a pilot-scale project off of Roosevelt Island a six turbine array that has powered a nearby parking garage and supermarket.

"I think that this new project, along with our recent Xcel Energy wind-power project, places SAFL and IREE in a great position to provide national research leadership in wind- and water-based renewable energy systems," said Sotiropoulos.

For more information about Professor Sotiropoulos' research at the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, visit www.safl.umn.edu. For more information on the RITE project, visit www.verdantpower.com.

May 1, 2009