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Wave energy systems could be more efficient than wind turbines

A team of aerospace engineers at the Air Force Academy are borrowing some aerodynamics principles to create a new wave-energy system that is said to be durable, extremely efficient, and can sit anywhere in the ocean, regardless of depth. While still in early design stages, computer and scale-model tests of the system suggest higher efficiencies than wind turbines. The system is designed to effectively cancel incoming waves, capturing their energy while flattening them out, providing an added application as a storm-wave breaker.

Windmills have active controls that turn the blades to compensate for storm winds, eliminating lift when it is a risk, and preventing damage. The Air Force Academy researchers used the same approach with a hydrofoil and built it into a cycloidal propeller, a design that emerged in the 1930s and currently propels tugboats, ferries and other highly maneuverable ships.

Physorg.com wrote up the development. Their item includes a video demonstrating some of the results. The researchers are also presenting their results at the 62nd annual meeting of the American Physical Society's Division of Fluid Dynamics. Here's the Physorg item:

http://www.physorg.com/news177846004.html

Here is an abstract of the paper:

http://meetings.aps.org/Meeting/DFD09/Event/112236

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