TECH 797 - Undergraduate Ocean Research Projects
A two-semester senior design project course (ME 755-756 or TECH 797) must be completed by the end of the senior year by all undergraduates who are planning to receive their bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering. The purpose of this requirement is to allow every ME graduate to gain experience in a substantial design or experimental research project.
Wave Energy at the Isles of Shoals
Wave energy has great potential to provide electricity to coastal communities at a competitive price. The technology has been proven and is presently being developed for grid scale application. Significant amounts of energy are present in waves at locations around Hawaii and Oregon, but there is potential for development anywhere waves exist. Our investigation has quantified the available energy in the Gulf of Maine. Specifically historical data has been correlated to areas east of the Isles of Shoals where wave activity was measured for this analysis. The Shoals Marine Laboratory is located on Appledore Island in the Isles of Shoals. The Lab already makes use of 7.5 kW of wind power and recently expanded their solar energy capacity to 27 kW. Recent funding has allowed for the expansion of renewable energy at island based laboratory, and there is an interest in adding wave power to the energy profile. This feasibility study has generated information about the energy available, site locations for implementation, permitting regulations, transportation installation and removal expenses, as well as identified devices and generated interest among developers who may be able to use Appledore Island and the Shoals Marine Laboratory for scaled testing on a live load.
Memorial Bridge Hydrokinetic Power Generation: GHT & VFG
The ultimate objective of the Memorial Bridge project is to deploy a hydrokinetic turbine beneath the Memorial Bridge in the Piscataqua River in Portsmouth, New Hampshire to harvest mechanical power from the water beneath the Memorial Bridge, and then convert it to electrical power to meet the energy needs of the bridge. The turbine will power aesthetic, navigation, traffic and aerial lighting as well as educational and informational monitoring and displays. Using data from last year’s URC report, we were able to develop a more detailed design. This began by selecting the best turbine that will operate at the site location to supply the power requirement. Once the Gorlov helical turbine was chosen, it was sized accordingly. Based on the size of the turbine and the predetermined power density curves of the river, we chose to design a variable flux generator (VFG) to generate the electricity needed. The VFG is a highly efficient generator that had not been thoroughly and scientifically tested yet. Though further work to meet the ultimate goal is still required, we have made much progress toward making the Memorial Bridge a sustainable site.
Evaluation and Characterization of the Fluid Dynamics Within a Circular Flume
The purpose of this project is to evaluate and characterize the fluid dynamics within a circular flume. The group studied the flow through the flume to show whether or not this tank is a suitable testing facility to study Incipient motion and bed stress, which are components of the study of sediment transport. The team are driving the flow field by use of two 40 lb. thrust motors with the flow then going through flow straighteners to reduce turbulence. Once the flow goes through the flow straighteners, they use the Vectrino II to collect velocity readings down field. These readings will show the velocity in each x,y,z dimensions to show whether this flume is producing the flow field needed to study sediment transport.
UNH Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicle (ROV)
ROV’s are used in many underwater applications across many fields and are useful because they do not have to safely transport a human down to extreme ocean depths (~6,000m) and pressures. Instead the ROV’s are controlled through a tether from a surface vessel where the human operators are in a safe environment. This decreases the cost and limitations of exploration and missions located in the deep ocean. The UNH ROV Team is designing an ROV for two purposes. The first purpose is to compete in the Marine Advancement Technology Education which holds an international competition which will be held in Seattle Washington this year. The theme for this year’s competition deals with the installation, operation and maintenance of regional cabled ocean observing systems. The second is for a graduate student, Firat Eren, to complete his doctoral research. Firat is currently researching controlling multiple ROV’s in leader-follower positions. There will be one “Leader” ROV (a benthos commercially made ROV) which will have ROV’s from the 2011-2012 UNH ROV Team and the 2012-2013 UNH ROV Team following in some pattern and controlling their relative positions.
Tidal Energy Demonstration Channel
The Tidal Energy Demonstration Channel is a project to easily convey how tidal energy can be harnessed and converted to useable electricity. This will be done by building a continuous flow demonstration tank with removable model turbines. The turbines will produce axial rotation resulting in a visual display of electricity.
Offshore Wind Turbine Array
The goal of this project is to systematically investigate the power output of an offshore wind turbine array for variable turbine spacing. Realistic scale models of 5MW offshore wind turbines were designed, fabricated and characterized with respect to performance. Wind turbine arrays of various configurations (e.g. 1xN, 1x9, 3x3) where then installed and tested in a high Reynolds number turbulent boundary layer in the UNH Flow Physics Facility. Turbine spacing was varied, power output and thrust of turbines was measured, correlating array power to array area.
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