New project to harness energy of NYC's East River

New project to harness energy of NYC's East River

University of Minnesota and Verdant Power to lead new effort that advances research, innovation and training

New project to harness energy of NYC's East River

New project to harness energy of NYC's East River


MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (09/04/2013) —A new collaboration between  industry and academia is set to harness the energy of New York City’s  East River. The University of Minnesota’s St. Anthony Falls Laboratory  announced the launch of a new project that will advance research,  innovation and training in marine and hydrokinetic technology, an  emerging renewable energy that harnesses the power of rivers, tides and  waves.

Developed around the nation’s first federally licensed installation of a commercial tidal power turbine system array—the Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy(RITE) Project in New York City’s East River—the effort combines the  University of Minnesota St. Anthony Falls Laboratory’s cutting-edge  computational modeling and experimental techniques with the industry  expertise and unique field facilities of RITE Project lead, Verdant  Power, Inc. (New York, NY), and the materials science and manufacturing  strengths of Energetx Composites, Inc. (Holland, MI). The project is  funded by a two-year, $600,000 grant from the National Science  Foundation, through its Partnerships for Innovation: Building Innovation Capacity program.

  The overall goal of the project is to promote the growing marine and hydrokinetic industry by enhancing the  performance and resilience of the technologies used while ensuring  environmental compatibility. In addition, the project aims to build the  marine and hydrokinetic technology workforce through the development and pilot of technological and entrepreneurial curriculum in a four-year  hydrology degree program at tribal college, Salish Kootenai College  (Pablo, MT).

 "This project will enable St. Anthony  Falls Laboratory research to help industry partners succeed in  developing a very high-profile marine and hydrokinetic resource, one  that will supply renewable electricity to New York City," said Fotis  Sotiropoulos, the project leader and director of the St. Anthony Falls  Laboratory who is James L. Record professor of civil engineering in the  University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering. "This  partnership strategically positions our St. Anthony Falls Lab to  spearhead the development and growth of marine and hydrokinetic  renewable energy technology to support the national goal of 80 percent  of U.S. electricity produced from clean energy sources by 2035."

 Researchers at the University of Minnesota St. Anthony Falls Laboratory will  develop a high-performance computing simulation toolbox to provide  industry partners an in-depth understanding of how turbines perform in  and interact with real-life aquatic environments. Combining  high-resolution simulations of turbine interactions in complex flow  environments and aquatic ecosystems with site-specific water flow,  streambed and ecosystem data from the RITE Project installation,  researchers will use massively parallel supercomputers to: 1) design and test the next generation of marine and hydrokinetic turbine rotor  blades for reliable and efficient operation; and 2) optimize the layout  of Verdant’s pilot-scale 30-turbine, 1.05MW array at the East River  site.

 "This unique partnership brings together  forward-thinking research and innovation around tidal and river current  energy opportunities for the U.S.," said Dean Corren, Director of  Technology, Verdant Power, Inc. "The tools produced at SAFL allow us to  make significant strides toward enhancing the technology for widespread  commercial application."

 Outcomes from the project  support the RITE Project pilot deployment and help to promote industry  development, expand the U.S. renewable energy portfolio, and accelerate  the deployment of marine and hydrokinetic technologies throughout the  nation and world. The educational component of the project is  anticipated to serve as a model for implementation in other communities  to enhance educational opportunities and produce the next generation of  professionals for the marine and hydrokinetic industry.

 In addition to Sotiropoulos, other University of Minnesota faculty members who are lead researchers on this project include Michele Guala, St.  Anthony Falls Laboratory and Department of Civil Engineering and Henryk  Stolarski, Department of Civil Engineering.

 Learn more about SAFL’s marine and hydrokinetic energy research at

Related Links
Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy Project:
Saint Anthony Falls Laboratory:
College of Science & Engineering:

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