Fishy Thinking Inspires New Clean Energy Technology
Professor Michael Bernitsas — a researcher at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor — might have found an alternative way to create power from water. Less intrusive than dams, Bernitsas’ invention takes advantage of slow currents such as those created as fish swim through currents in rivers. The device, called VIVACE, is comprised of a series of tubes. As water flow past the tubes it creates vortexes, causing vibrations and hence energy.
“We always try to suppress vortex-induced vibrations because they are very destructive,” Bernitsas told MSNBC. “It dawned on me that instead of suppressing those vibrations, maybe we could enhance them, control them, and harness the energy from currents.” Bernitsas, who has worked to create mooring systems for oil companies, is developing a prototype for the Detroit River.
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