Volume VS. Velocity

High volume water flows contain enormous amounts of energy.

The Department of Energy states that water is 800 times denser than air, and water flows of just 12 mph contain similar amounts of energy as 110 mph winds. 


The plot to the right is a simplified description of today's technology in hydro-power.  On the X axis is the discharge, or the characteristic volume flow.  On the Y axis is the hydro-static head, which is associated with the pressure and speed of the flow.  It is also usually associated with the height of a dam.  The inclined straight lines indicate growing levels of power associated with the flow.  Since pressure times volume rate is equal to power, you can see that the amount of available energy that can be extracted increases by growing head or by growing volume flow.  In the plot, we indicate 3 meters as the average minimal head requirement for these turbine style hydro-power devices.  In the plot you can also see that similar amounts of available energy exist in low speed, high volume water flows.


This plot is logarithmic on both axes, which means that the space under the efficiency limit line is much larger than it appears.  This area of the diagram represents a vast portion of untapped energy which mainly consists of rivers, canals, and tidal flows.  Although the density of energy here is much lower, to extract similar amounts of energy large volumes of moving water are needed. 


Fortunately, they are globally available.  With minimal disruption to the flow, multiple systems can be deployed in series for maximum energy conversion from a single resource.   The California Aqueduct system has an average width of 40 feet, an average depth of 30 feet, and is over 400 miles long! 

 

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How to Capture Extreme Forces from Low Speed Water Flows

Sea Anchors

Sea anchors are marine grade, heavy duty parachutes used to grab hold of the sea.

Sailors around the world use them for vessel control and emergency situations.  They are commonly used to slow, stabilize and steer vessels from sailboats to large ships, however, deploying a sea anchor into a fluid moving mass from a stationary location can create extreme amounts of pull force.


Our 36 inch prototype collector generates 18 lbs. of pull force from water flows of approximately 1.6 mph, and 50 lbs. of drag when towed at 5 mph.  


Para-Tech Sea Anchor reports that a 9 foot sea anchor is capable of generating approximately 2000 lbs. of drag when towed at just 2.3 mph.  


Fiorentino Para-Anchor reports similar tow test data, and is now working with NASA to design drogue chutes for the Orion Space Capsule!


Our technology can convert these forces into low speed high torque rotation!  Horsepower!  

We are now working with Fiornetino's Lead Engineer, Zack Smith, to fine tune our prototype water pistons.


To see more sea anchor drag test data please visit http://para-anchor.com/reports/report152.pdf

Photo courtesy of Fiorentino
Photo courtesy of Fiorentino