Moshman Research is working on a 3 year effort to develop a clean hydropower system for remote communities. The system will be designed to convert the kinetic energy from a flowing river into electricity in a microgrid. We must design the rotor shape to maximally catch the water while not creating too much turbulence and disturbance to the flow.
After post-processing of this flow we extract the torque on the rotor due to the forces from the water and combine this with the rotor’s rotation rate to predict the power generated and the efficiency. There is a target efficiency for the clean hydropower system to be economically viable and it will be up to Moshman Research to deliver a rotor design that meets that efficiency target while also interacting favorably with the rest of the system and the environment under all anticipated conditions.
Meshing of the flow domain was done with the new Mosaic tool in ANSYS Fluent for hexahedral cells. These cells are more efficient and numerically accurate than the standard tetrahedral cells most commonly used in CFD calculations. Moshman Research leverages this capability to make 3D mesh of the domain of flow around the rotor using the minimal number of high-quality mesh zones. This yields fast convergence of the flow solver to a high degree of precision.
We are supporting BladeRunner Energy and the Alaska Center for Energy and Power (ACEP) at the University of Alaska Fairbanks on this effort. We are funded by the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Project’s Agency (ARPA-E) under the SHARKS program.