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A Sip of Science: A different type of hydropower: The rise of marine hydrokinetic energy

Hydropower is recognized as a clean, renewable energy, but traditional hydropower, typically generated by dams on rivers, can significantly impact the overall flow regime, sediment transport, and ecology of our waterways. Thus, new technologies are being explored that hopes to minimize our environmental footprint while continuing to provide clean, renewable energy. In-streams turbines, also referred as Marine Hydrokinetic turbines (MHK) or current energy converters (CEC), are a relatively new type of renewable energy technology which harnesses the flowing water of tidal channels and rivers to produce electrical energy. The operating principle is very similar to the classical wind energy turbines, albeit here water is the driving fluid that spins the turbine rotor. Like any new technology, there are many research questions that need answering before incorporating this new technology into our energy portfolio. Join CEGE professor Michele Guala and PhD student Mirko Musa from the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory at the University as he discusses one such research question: how do MHK turbines impact bathymetry (the channel bed) and sediment transport in fluvial and tidal systems?

 

A SIP OF SCIENCE is a science happy hour sponsored by NCED and the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory at the University of Minnesota. It is a forum for researchers to put science in context through storytelling – all over beer, in a cool bar. At 5:30pm on the second Wednesday of each month, NCED will host a happy hour forum in NE Minneapolis.

Thank you, Ron