After the introduction of the meaning of tidal energy, how it works, and the current negative impact tidal turbines have on marine life (why we need change) I discuss the first step to proposing a new design – bladeless turbines by using hydrofoils instead. Their streamlined design not only reduces the environmental impact on marine life by eliminating rotating blades but also enhances efficiency in energy conversion. Hydrofoils operate by harnessing lift generated from water flow, allowing them to capture energy with reduced drag and increased effectiveness. To improve this method it is proposed to use these hydrofoils in a dual mechanism to enhance the stability and reduce energy loss. Also, I decided it would be better for the hydrofoil to move laterally to efficiently capture energy from tidal currents across a broader spectrum of flow directions.

Next I looked at fish, whales and eels to for a biomimetic design approach, drawing inspiration from nature’s efficiency, and contributing to the development of bladeless turbines that are both environmentally conscious and highly effective in harnessing tidal energy. There is also research done on using corrugated hydrofoils similar to that of a dragonfly’s wings to further enable the energy generation,

The energy collection mechanism used is called vortex-induced vibration (VIV). The key is to create a structure that interacts with vortices in the water flow. Piezoelectric materials are typically integrated into the structure, often near the trailing edge, where the vibrations are most pronounced. These materials convert the mechanical energy generated by the hydrofoil’s oscillations in response to vortices into electrical energy.

Then the form and shape are developed, taking shape into a shark’s fin, and the piezoelectric material placement is also researched. There is also a quick test on the feasibility of the design in a free online CFD software and a real-life experiment with piezoelectric discs and an LED. The theoretical prototype is drawn up and explained.

Overview of the issue and your approach: The approach for this issue is to think back to basics and design the turbine with biomimicry in mind. Biomimicry refers to the design approach that draws inspiration from nature to create a tidal energy device, like eels, whales, sharks etc. The project looks at current research and designs a structure that mimics the undulating movements observed in marine organisms affected by tidal currents. It also emulates the current efficiency and adaptability found in the natural world, which aims to enhance the performance of the device as well.
The stakeholders in your project: Stakeholders (Ranked)
Investors and Funders
Energy Companies
Engineers and Designers
Regulatory Bodies
Environmental Agencies
Research Institutions
Marine Biologists and Ecologists
Local Communities
Technology Suppliers
Boating and Fishing Industries
Environmental Advocacy Groups
General Public