Harnessing rivers and streams to generate electricity

A group of six students from the SCMS School of Engineering and Technology develops a device calledHydro Vortex Power Generator to generate electricity from slow-moving waterbodies.
Students and their faculty guides with the device
Students and their faculty guides with the device

KOCHI: A group of mechanical engineering students from SCMS School of Engineering and Technology (SSET), Karukutty could generate electricity from the irrigation canal running in front of the college. The team of six students, four in the final year and two from second-year mechanical engineering branch developed a device called Hydro Vortex

Power Generator (HVPG). The device is capable of generating electricity even from water currents as slow as 0.5 m/s. HVPG can be looked upon as a revolutionary source of clean energy, especially for Kerala.  
The members of the team are Christo Varghese, Delo Devassy, D Achuth, Dion C Mathews, Anand Rajeev and Gijo George Netticadan.

Hence, the much-needed electricity for a power-starved state can be generated by harnessing the energy of the rivers and streams with the help of the device.HVPG works on the principle of vortex-induced vibration of bluff bodies.  The main component of HVPG is an elastically mounted horizontal cylinder which undergoes vibration. The device doesn’t have any rotating parts. The design was optimised using Computational Fluid Dynamics expertise of SSET.

Since fossil fuels are depleting at a faster pace, scientists all over the world are looking for new technologies that can be obtained from renewable sources. Hydroelectric power is a clean source of energy but the huge investment and the effect the dams have on the ecosystem makes it unviable.

HVPG can be used as a single standing power unit, which can light up remote and tribal areas in the state. As multi-units, they can supply power to the grid. This evolving technology can be looked upon as the future of power generation in Kerala.The device becomes very viable in electrifying tribal and remote areas which are blessed with rivers and streams.

According to the team, HVPG can harness power not only from rivers and streams but also from ocean currents. Moreover, installation of HVPG possess no danger to the aquatic life and also preserves the natural beauty of water bodies since it operates underwater. HVPG has very high energy density as compared to any other renewable power production systems like wind farms and tidal power.

The project was mentored by Sheeja Janardhanan and Vidya Chandran faculty of Mechanical Engineering. Construction of the module was carried out at the automobile workshop of SSET under the guidence of Haridas, laboratory instructor and Gopalakrishnan K K, workshop superintendent.The present device, which is 65 cm wide and 1.2 m in height, is capable of producing approximately 5 W power from a current speed of 0.5 m/s. The team is planning to associate with the national energy agencies to scale up the project to make it beneficial to the society.

Sheeja Janardhanan will be introducing the module to the world during her keynote address at the 12th International Conference on Advanced Computational Engineering and Experimenting  at Amsterdam, Netherlands in July.

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