Featured Project

Harvesting Tidal Energy

Developing tomorrow’s technology for tidal energy conversion

Czero completed design analysis for a Brown University project developing new technology for harvesting energy from tidal currents in rivers near oceans. The project received $3.8 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) program.

Brown developed a hydrodynamic foil system that overcomes several limitations of tidal turbine designs and uses adaptive control software to maximize energy capture by adjusting the mechanism’s operation based on real-time measurements of water flow and system performance.

The Brown research team included principal investigator Shreyas Mandre, an assistant professor in Brown’s School of Engineering, Jennifer Franck, a Brown lecturer in engineering, Michael Miller, a Ph.D candidate in the program, and project manager Alice Lux Fawzi, all of whom have worked directly with Czero and BluSource Energy to advance the technology.

Czero's role in R&D

For the R&D project, Czero performed extensive trade studies evaluating the best methods for powering the actuators that control the foils and for maximizing energy harvest. We also proposed alternate designs to reduce parasitic losses—energy required by subsystems that reduce total energy extraction—and to increase power captured from the foil, resulting in a more efficient system. These same design improvements also lowered costs and reduced maintenance issues, increasing the commercial viability of this new tidal energy converter.

The engineers on the Czero team were proactive problem-solvers from our first introduction. They quickly applied the full breadth and depth of their engineering team’s impressive intellect to determine the most efficient and cost effective system to maximize the energy-harvesting capabilities of Brown’s concept.
They were remarkably objective in their trade studies to find the best solution, favoring a simpler mechanical solution over their greatest strength: advanced hydraulics. They walked us through potential failure modes of each system, and educated the team about the pitfalls of component scalability. In addition to their technical solutions, Czero did an excellent job conveying their thought process and analysis to the Brown team with clear graphs, diagrams and presentations, which streamlined decision-making.

Czero added tremendous value to the Brown project and was a pleasure to work with. We look forward to putting our heads together on future projects."

——Tom Derecktor, CEO, BluSource Energy

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