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VIVACE generates big power from small currents

Tim Stevens

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These days people are looking everywhere to find new, cheap, and plentiful sources of electricity, and while you wouldn't call it new, the ocean is certainly cheap and plentiful. Plentiful too are the people attempting to convert its motion into power by tapping its waves or extracting its heat. But what about lesser waters moving at a leisurely 3 knots? Those lazy flows make up the majority of all currents and are exactly the target of VIVACE, a series of tubes (seriously) that relies on vortex induced vibrations (the VIV) to create clean aquatic energy (the, uh, ACE). The idea is that the cylindrical shapes create turbulence in slow-moving water, oscillating up and down in electricity-generating ways. It's all the brainchild of Michael Bernitsas, a professor at the University of Michigan, and is partly funded by the US Department of Energy -- your tax dollars at work, you eco-pioneer you.

[Via inhabitat]

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