Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A hydrokinetic resource assessment of the Florida Current
by Smentek-Duerr, Alana E., Ph.D., Florida Atlantic University, 2012, 236; 3530686
Abstract (Summary)

The Straits of Florida has been noted as a potential location for extraction of the hydrokinetic energy of the Florida Current, in view of the strength of the current and its proximity to the shore. In the 1970’s, estimates were made of the hydrokinetic power within the Florida Current. William von Arx suggested that the Florida Current had 25 GW of power; however, for more than 30 years, no definitive research on the viability of the extraction of ocean energy was conducted. This research explores the Florida Current as a potential renewable energy source. By utilizing historical data, in situ observations of the Florida Current, and computer model data, the hydrokinetic resource of the Florida Current is characterized both spatially and temporally. Subsequently, based on the geographic variability of the hydrokinetic power and other factors that impact the economy of a hydrokinetic turbine array installation, the ideal locations for turbine array installation within the Florida Current are identified. Using this information, estimates of potential energy extraction from turbine arrays are obtained for over 2000 different turbine array configurations. The trends of the array extraction based on various array parameters are identified. Additionally, an interactive tool has been developed in which array parameters are input—including installation location, turbine diameter, turbine cut-in speed, etc.—and array extraction estimates, ideal installation position, and water depth at the installation points are output. As ocean model data is prominently used in this research, a discussion about the limitations of the ocean model data and a method for overcoming these limitations are described. Globally, the distribution of hydrokinetic power intensity is evaluated to identify other currents that have a high hydrokinetic resource. Finally, the tools developed in considering the Florida Current resource are used to analyze two other global ocean currents—Kuroshio and Agulhas—for their hydrokinetic energy potential. The locations with the highest potential within the Kuroshio and Agulhas Currents are subsequently compared to the hydrokinetic energy potential for the ideal turbine installation location within the Florida Current.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Dhanak, Manhar
Commitee: Ananthakrishnan, P., Chassignet, Eric, Driscoll, Frederick, Granata, Richard, Hanson, Howard
School: Florida Atlantic University
Department: Ocean and Mechanical Engineering
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-B 74/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Natural Resource Management, Ocean engineering
Keywords: Florida current, Hydrokinetic turbines, Ocean energy, Renewable energy
Publication Number: 3530686
ISBN: 978-1-267-70544-0
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