RAFT: Reconfigurable Array of High-Efficiency Ducted Turbines for Hydrokinetic Energy Harvesting

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Ann Arbor, Michigan
Project Term:
09/20/2021 - 09/19/2024

Technology Description:

The project team, led by the University of Michigan, proposes the RAFT concept as a solution for hydrokinetic energy harvesting. The project aims to develop multi-physics models, design processes, and optimization tools; augment control and system health monitoring algorithms; demonstrate novel RAFT concepts; and deliver an integrated solution for riverine and tidal applications. The project team brings expertise in hydrodynamics, structures, electrical systems, iterative optimization, and control co-design. The proposed RAFT, made up of multiple micro-turbines, has a modularized architecture with reconfigurable units, making it adaptable to different applications and marine environments. The innovative new turbine designs, along with distributed load control and regulator concepts, significantly reduce the levelized cost of energy. In-situ real-time optimization-based control and distributed continuous system health monitoring optimize RAFT's features to achieve performance, resiliency, reliability, and cost targets. Extensive modeling and experimental validations will mitigate identified technical risks.

Potential Impact:

Hydrokinetic energy is an abundant renewable energy source that presents unique opportunities and benefits.


Diverse renewable energy resources can boost grid resiliency and reduce infrastructure vulnerabilities.


HKTs, used to capture energy from tides, rivers, canals, and ocean currents, optimize a clean, renewable power source that could help reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.


Hydrokinetic energy has applications beyond solely providing power to electrical grids. It is ideally suited to the emerging technologies and markets built upon ocean- and riverine-based infrastructure, including climatological observation, aquaculture, desalination, ocean floor and seawater mining, disaster recovery, powering isolated communities, and autonomous underwater vehicle support.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Mario Garcia-Sanz
Project Contact:
Prof. Jing Sun
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