Marine and Hydrokinetic (MHK) Energy:

RE-TE-G's efforts in MHK are focused on two main areas: i) the development of new concepts; and ii) the development of new concepts; and ii) fundamental understanding of the turbulent interaction between MHK turbines and the surrounding environment.

Flow & MHK turbine interaction

Basic experimental research on rotating-type MHK turbines, using 3D printed models, is conducted in free-surface water flumes under a variety of flow conditions (Fig.1). Laser Doppler Velocimetry (LDV) and Acoustic Doppler Velocimetry (ADV) are used to obtain high resolution flow velocity data around the turbines while high-resolution sensors connected to multi-port DAQ system capture the unsteady behavior of the device. Figure 2 illustrates detailed mean velocity measurements from the viscous sub-layer up to the outer layer of the flow around an axial flow turbine.

Figure 1: (a) Marine hydrokinetic turbine model made by RE-TE-G; (b) Example of a setup with 2D LDV system in the WHOI flume.

Figure 2: Mean velocity profiles around a MHK model turbine including the viscous sublayer.


We are studying a new concept, knifefish-inspired, of non-rotaing Hydrokinetic turbine in collaboration with Thomas Johnson at the Alaska Center for Energy and Power research group, University of Alaska Fairbanks. UIUC undergraduate students Jay Bains, Anne Goeringm, and Michael Hutchinson, and RE-TE-G grad students Jimmy Kim and Nick Tobin are involved in the project. Figure 3 shows a photograph of the device in the MechSE Fluids Lab flume and Video 1 shows the ability of the device to operate under very low water depth.

Figure 3: Knifefish-inspired MHK concept.

Video 1: knifefish-inspired Hydrokinetic concept operating in a flume under very low head.




Our research group aims at providing fundamental insights on the role of turbulence in basic and applied problems of high interest, which can be divided in the following sub-areas:

i) structure of the boundary layer over complex topographies;

ii) wind & hydrokinetic energy technologies,

iii) scalar transport over urban and natural environments,

iv) flow-structure interaction; and

v) instrumentation for turbulence measurements.

We have developed a comprehensive research on these topics that are going to be sustained and expanded in the future. Our versatile experimental approach combines a set of state-of-the-art experimental techniques, including particle image velocimetry (PIV), computer vision, and our recently developed 3D particle tracking velocimetry (PTV). This framework allows us to study fluid dynamics from Eulerian and Lagrangian frame of references