Compact Underwater Turbine

Jan. 11, 2007
Researchers at the University of Southampton turned an electric motor upside down to create a more efficient generator.

Julie Kalista
Online Editor

The minimal components of the integrated electric generator.
The tested prototype.
Researchers at the University of Southampton turned an electric motor upside down to create a more efficient generator. The idea came from their tethered underwater vehicle with much smaller and more powerful electric thrusters for propulsion, with the new generator made from its electric motor.

Most current tidal stream generators are just wind turbines that work underwater. The new generator eliminates complex gearboxes used in current marine turbines, the parts that often require expensive maintenance. Because it requires less power it is also cheaper to run. Turbine blades work equally well no matter what direction water flows past them so there is no need to turn to face the direction of the current, according to the team.

"Just drop the generator into flowing water and it will start generating electricity," says one of the researchers. "It works best in fast flowing, shallow water." The current prototype is 25-cm. across but the team has plans to build a larger model with improved propellers to increase efficiency.
The team hopes the generator will
be commercially available within five years.

More Information:
University of Southampton

This web-only article appears in the Motors Monthly email newsletter. If you enjoyed this article and would like to read more like it, sign up today for our free email newsletters!

Sponsored Recommendations

MOVI-C Unleashed: Your One-Stop Shop for Automation Tasks

April 17, 2024
Discover the versatility of SEW-EURODRIVE's MOVI-C modular automation system, designed to streamline motion control challenges across diverse applications.

The Power of Automation Made Easy

April 17, 2024
Automation Made Easy is more than a slogan; it signifies a shift towards smarter, more efficient operations where technology takes on the heavy lifting.

Lubricants: Unlocking Peak Performance in your Gearmotor

April 17, 2024
Understanding the role of lubricants, how to select them, and the importance of maintenance can significantly impact your gearmotor's performance and lifespan.

From concept to consumption: Optimizing success in food and beverage

April 9, 2024
Identifying opportunities and solutions for plant floor optimization has never been easier. Download our visual guide to quickly and efficiently pinpoint areas for operational...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Machine Design, create an account today!