HAO 2nd generation prototype

The research group of professor Guy Dumas at the Mechanical Engineering Department of Laval University was awarded a $490,210 funding from the Ministère du Développement économique, de l’Innovation et de l’Exportation (MDEIE) within its program to support technology development and transfer (Programme de soutien à la valorisation et au transfert (PSVT), volet «Soutien à l'innovation sociale et aux projets structurants en valorisation et transfert»). Additional funding cumulating to $197,000 is provided by our partners, namely, JAMEC, the Centre Local de Développement de Maria Chapdelaine and the Société de Valorisation SOVAR for a total of $687,210.

The main objective of this project is to transfer and make operational the results of the research work performed over the past eight years at Laval University on a new and innovative technology of hydrokinetic turbine, the oscillating-foils turbine. With the support of its region and business partners, the main beneficiary of this expertise and technology transfer is the company JAMEC at Normandin in Lac St-Jean. The project involves the design, manufacture and testing of a demonstrator hydrokinetic turbine and leads to its deployment in a river in the Lac St-Jean region.

Among the sources of clean energy, the hydrokinetic energy currently generates a lot of R&D and is becoming an essential addition to the renewable energy alternatives. Similar in purpose to a wind turbine, a hydrokinetic turbine produces electricity from the kinetic energy of a water flow (river or tide flows) without using a dam. Their environmental impact is minimal and their social acceptance will likely be maximal.

Most developing hydrokinetic technologies are based on solutions related to wind energy. They therefore rely mostly on the use of rotating blades. Although inviting due to better-known technology, this approach suffers a major weakness when considering the implementation of these large-scale turbines in sites operating in shallow waters, as is typically the case in rivers and for most of the tidal sites. Our project therefore addresses this problem by proposing the HAO technology, which is ideally suited to the reality of operating sites (shallow water) and naturally extensible to large-scale power production.

In contrast to turbine technologies using rotating blades, the oscillating-foils turbine is characterized by its extraction plane which is rectangular
rather than circular. In consequence, the HAO concept allows to harness in a cost-effective way the sites with strong currents but limited depth. This applies to the vast majority of sites of interest in river and tidal flows, thus allowing the exploitation of this resource in a variety of sites where competing technologies would be limited to low power production.


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