Renewable energy developer Free Flow Power Corporation has been successfully operating its first full-scale hydrokinetic turbine generator in the Mississippi River since June 20, 2011, Free Flow Power reported.
In February and November of last year, the company tested its turbine in a controlled flow at the U.S. Geological Survey's Conte Anadromous Fish Laboratory at Turner Falls, Mass.
The current hydrokinetic deployment represents the first time the equipment has generated electricity in the Mississippi River. This operation is the culmination of three years of research and development by Free Flow Power, funded with a combination of private capital and a $1.4 Million Advanced Water Power grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.
The turbine is installed on a research surface platform that includes instrumentation to allow the Free Flow Power research team to monitor key performance metrics like stream velocity, electrical current and voltage to evaluate the turbine's performance. The Dow Chemical Company is supporting Free Flow Power's efforts by hosting the floating demonstration installation at the company's dock along the Mississippi River at Plaquemine, La.
After several weeks and many hours of continuous generation, Dr. Ed Lovelace, chief technology officer for the company, expressed satisfaction with the results. "Performance to date has been consistent with our design predictions, which makes it very competitive with published data on similar devices being developed around the world," said Lovelace. "The equipment is handling the Mississippi River conditions without power interruptions or degradation."
Lovelace added: "It's pretty clear that river hydrokinetics provides a steady, continuous and predictable renewable energy source. These attributes, combined with limited land use, no fuel requirements and proximity to grid infrastructure and maintenance access make river hydrokinetics a unique value proposition in the renewable energy market."
Free Flow Power is pursuing approvals from state and federal regulators led by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to install arrays of its hydrokinetic turbines at various locations in the Mississippi River that would provide enough power to represent a viable alternative to conventional power plants.
Free Flow Power is a renewable energy company focusing on hydropower, hydrokinetic and hydro pumped storage as reliable, cost-effective sources of electricity and grid stability.
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