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Around the world, energy producers are looking for the most reliable and efficient means for generating renewable energy through sustainable practices. Turbines using water currents to power communities is one of these methods.
The problem: deciding where and how to place turbines to generate power while limiting their effect on the surrounding environments.
Lauren - Ross - Computer - Model
That's where Lauren Ross' computer model comes in.
Ross is an assistant professor in the College of Engineering at the University of Maine. She previously worked with other researchers and engineers at the University of Bordeaux, studying tidal turbines in an estuary system on the southwest coast of France.
Postdoc - Research - Project - Impact - Turbines
That postdoc research has carried over to her current project, "Understanding the impact of tidal turbines on current velocity and sediment transport in a macrotidal estuary: a numerical model study."
The project involves inputting numerical data into a 3-D computer model. The model can simulate the effects of placing power-generating turbines in waterways that experience tides.
What are tidal turbines?
Tidal turbines are rotating blades propelled by flowing currents of water that create energy. They are used in estuaries, or places where rivers meet the tide. This is an ideal location for energy-producing equipment because of the reliable daily tides and the ability to estimate the amount of electricity to be generated at a given time.
Tidal - Turbines - Structures - Water - Turbines
Tidal turbines are housed in fixed structures and placed in the water. It takes multiple turbines, considered a turbine "farm," to generate enough electricity to power a substantial portion of a community.
Why is this important?
Turbines - Wind - Turbine - Cousins - Aspects
While tidal turbines are not as large as their wind turbine cousins, they can impact the physical and social aspects of estuary communities.
Before placing a tidal turbine "farm" in a waterway, Ross' model can simulate the impact and benefits of the geographic location of the farm and the most efficient way to arrange the turbines. This...
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