Modeling, design and control of a small marine current energy conversion system

Khan, Md. Nahidul Islam (2015) Modeling, design and control of a small marine current energy conversion system. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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The Seaformatics project is a five year AIF project that intends to develop wireless marine sensors for use in monitoring seabed processes. The sensor pods will be selfpowered through ocean bottom currents and will be able to communicate with each other This research is focused on development of a device to harvest energy from water currents near the ocean floor to power such seabed marine technologies. The research is very interdisciplinary in nature and involves design, structures, fluid dynamics, nonlinear control and power electronics, which makes it very challenging. A major outcome of the research is a robust small marine current energy conversion system that can extract power from the low marine current. A prototype was designed and constructed. It was tested in the towing tank in the Faculty of Engineering at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Power output was controlled using a DSP PI controller. The device consisted of a watertight hull. An electric generator was installed inside the hull and the turbine rotor was installed outside. The rotor of the device has blades like conventional wind turbines but the blades face forward into the flow and not perpendicular to it. This unique arrangement of the blades ensures high starting torque even in low currents. It used simple flat plate blades. A unique magnetic torque coupler was used to connect the generator to the turbine. This used sets of magnets inside and outside that repelled each other. Besides acting as a coupler, this arrangement of magnets also acted as a bearing. Ideally, it would have been good to use a generator designed specifically for the device but that would have been expensive and beyond the project budget so we used a commercial generator. To increase the rotational speed of this generator, a set of gears was inserted between the turbine and generator shafts. Computational Fluid Dynamics analysis and Potential Flow Hydrodynamics Theory were used to study the hydrodynamics of the rotor. This allowed us to explore geometry variations too expensive to study experimentally. For example, it showed that curved blades would give significantly more power than flat blades. This dissertation also presents an adaptive back stepping nonlinear maximum power point tracking (MPPT) control strategy for the system. Because of tow tank scheduling constraints, this was tested in simulation only. The proposed control strategy does not require any flow sensors and also does not need the parameters of a PMSG. A Lyapunov based online estimation approach is used to continually estimate the input voltage and the output load resistance of the converter. Detailed simulation results of the proposed adaptive back stepping control are presented and fully analyzed. Simulation results demonstrate that the proposed nonlinear controller can incessantly extract maximum power from the ocean current at various flow speeds.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
Item ID: 8380
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 202-216).
Keywords: Marine Current Turbine, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Maximum Power Point Tracking, Adaptive Backstepping, Lyapunov
Department(s): Engineering and Applied Science, Faculty of
Date: February 2015
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Ocean wave power; Direct energy conversion--Simulation methods; Electric power systems--Design and construction--Simulation methods; Computational fluid dynamics; Electric power systems--Control--Simulation methods

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