Verdant Enters Second Phase of Hydro-turbine Testing

Verdant Power has a hydropower plan. The Virginia-based company has been testing an underwater turbine in the East River in New York since 2002 to determine potential impacts on the environment, as well as learn more about the performance of the technology underpinning the company’s proposed Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy Hydropower Project.

A hearty list of research organizations and leading research institutions are working on the project, which uses the motion of tidal currents in the East River to turn underwater, propeller-type turbines that generate power. Two $500,000 grants for the project were awarded to Verdant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). The total, three-stage project is estimated to cost $1.5 million, and NYSERDA is expected to continue supplying grants for the research and development phase. The motion of the tides in the East River can reach 4 knots, and Verdant mounted axial flow turbines on the river bottom. First phase turbines had rotors with a 10-foot diameter, and they have been generating up to 16 kW of power. Second phase turbines have a 16-foot rotor diameter, and are designed to generate 35 kW of power. A yaw system allows the turbines to rotate on a vertical axis so they can capture energy from both the ebb and flow of the river tides. Information gathered from the test should prove valuable to FERC in the future if Verdant decides to pursue a license for the technology. The facilities would be located in the East River off Roosevelt Island in Queens County, New York. The company’s long-term proposed project would consist of 494 turbine generator units rated for 21 kW each. Verdant Power expects to complete this $10 to 20 million East River project, including power conditioning and grid connection, by 2007. Subsequent sites will be developed in less than one year. As the company enters into its second stage of testing they had to start thinking about the proper licensing for the power plant. Lucky for Verdant, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is on board with the plan, and has ruled that the company can continue testing without a hydropower license. Verdant is still required to obtain the necessary federal, state and local permits before moving ahead with the planned 18-month technology test.
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