Thursday, May 25, 2017

Putting our Rivers Back to Work

We pass over them every day. Some are deep and wide. Some are just trickles. Still, we rarely give them a thought. It’s time we did.

It’s way past time for us to once again recognize that our rivers are not only for sailing or fishing or swimming, they are also brimming over with an abundance of low-cost energy.

From the olden days of water wheels and grinding mills to the last century dams and hydroelectric plants, rivers loaned their power for a plethora of uses.  Today, many dams are deteriorated, no longer maintained, or obsolete in 20th century terms. Their power goes untapped.

Why is that? The answer might be found not in the river water but in the applied power-producing technology. Simply speaking, it’s obsolete.

Today, along with solar and wind, the hydrokinetic energy now flowing in our rivers can be put to work producing pollution-free electricity.

The technology breakthrough to make it happen was created by Dr. Michael Bernitsas, professor in the Department of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, University of Michigan.

A device called VIVACE developed at the University of Michigan draws power out of slow water currents to produce clean electricity. It imitates the swim strategy of a school of fish. Here’s the story:

Using Vortex Induced Vibrations to Generate Hydroelectricity

Out of the Blue - Episode 104 - VIVACE- University of Michigan

Dr. Michael Bernitsas - Saturday Morning Physics - 03/12/11

Please go here for more
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