Generation from Water

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Vortex Hydro Energy and the marine engineering faculty at the University of Michigan have developed a device called Vivace which harnesses vortex induced vibrations (VIV) to generate electricity. Their inspiration was the failure of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in the 1940’s, whose structural failure was caused by VIV building in amplitude. Since that time engineers have struggled to dampen this phenomenon. Vivace turns that parameter on its head and instead uses VIV to generate. Vivace works in very-slow-velocity water environments, including rivers. The technology is being applied in a pilot project in the Detroit River.

A different set of water generation technologies being developed primarily in the UK harness tides to generate and could be applied in the Hudson. Below is a chart of the amplitude of tides off Tarrytown, NY.


Greater New York City has a need to develop distributed generation due to restricted transmission infrastructure and PSC reluctance to fund Con Ed transmission investment in this economy. Our rivers, Harlem, East, and Hudson (actually two estuaries and a fjord), afford a unique DG resource when waterfront development returns and projects begin anew.

Sketch-up model of waterfront development, Milton Lau and Salvador Behar


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