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1. Fluid Structure Interaction (FSI) Analysis of Flow Around Wind Turbines/Marine and Hydrokinetic Turbines (MHK) Individually and in an Array (Funding: Seed Grant): A multidisciplinary FSI model to predict the structural dynamics responses of MHK energy converter systems of a similar class subjected to wave/current loading is studied numerically and experimentally. Free-surface effects and the nonlinear turbulent flow characteristics are studied numerically to determine the hydrodynamic forces. These will be the inputs to the flexible multi body dynamics model to determine the response forces. Using the stress distribution on the structure, one can predict the fatigue lifetime of the MHK components based on the number of cycles to failure. Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) technique is used to measure the flow structure around a scaled current turbine and validating the developed numerical model. A fast laser systems at 100 Hz with high speed sCMOS cameras at 67 Hz are used to acquire images. (Collaborative Research)
2. Analytical and Experimental Hydrodynamic Analysis of Flow Around Wave Energy Converter (WEC) Technologies (Funding: Seed Grant): The wave energy potential along the North Carolina (NC) shore is calculated using six-year (2012-2017) National Buoy Database (NDBC). The wave data from six buoys along NC shore studied and two of them with more favorable wave characteristics, US 192 and US 430, were selected. The average significant wave height (HS) and corresponding time period (T) were determined. The Reference Model 3 (RM3) defined by Department of Energy (DOE) was used to explore the potential power generation from wave energy. A volume of fluid (VOF) turbulence RANS model was employed to determine the hydrodynamic forces on RM3. The experimental analysis are planned to being conducted at UNC-Coastal Studies Institute wave tank facilities. (Collaborative Research with UNC-CSI)
3. Computational Fluid Dynamics Analysis of a Novel Hybrid Vertical Axis Turbine for Wind/Ocean Energy Harnessing (Funding: Seed Grant): The objective of this project is to design, simulate and evaluate the performance of a novel hybrid vertical-axis turbine (VAT) for obtaining an extended operational range and enhancing self-starting capabilities. The performance of this turbine was studied for the wind applications. The hybrid VAWT consist of a 2-blade modified Savonius Bach-type rotor and a 3-blade Darrieus rotor was modeled in SolidWorks. A comprehensive literature review was conducted to explore the design parameters for obtaining an optimum hybrid VAWT configuration. The geometry was used to generate grid in Gambit for computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analyses. The k-ω SST turbulence model was coupled with the SIMPLE algorithm in ANSYS Fluent to solve the unsteady Navier-Stokes equations. To evaluate the hybrid VAWT design performance, aerodynamic characteristics were determined at different tip-speed-ratio (TSR) values. Results indicated that while the Darrieus turbine had the highest coefficient of power (Cp) of 48.4% at a TSR of 2.50, it suffered from high start-up torque requirements. The hybrid turbine demonstrated self-starting capabilities while reaching a maximum Cp of 41.4 % at a TSR of 2.5 and operation up to a TSR value of 4.5. When compared to previous hybrid VAWT designs, the proposed configuration demonstrated improvements to the efficiency and operational range that supports the energy sustainability prospects. The ongoing research is focused on exploring the implementation of this technology in ocean energy technologies. (Collaborative Research with researchers at KTH in Sweden)
4. Computational and Experimental Aerodynamic Analysis of Flow Around a Tire (Funding: Seed Grant): Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) technique is used to measure the flow structure around a scaled tire. Two laser systems at 15 Hz and 100 Hz with high speed sCMOS cameras at 67 Hz are used to acquire images. A rolling road is being build and compromised in an Eiffel wind tunnel; it can speed up to 60 mph (100 km/h). The computational analysis of the flow around the tire will be conducted in ANSYS Workbench. (Collaborative Research with Motorsports Research Laboratory at UNCC)
5. Computational Fluid Dynamics Analysis of the Ducted Turbines (Funding: Maryland Industrial Partnership Program-MIPS): A novel ducted wind turbine, referred to as the Wind Tower technology, for capturing wind power in either residential or commercial scale applications is developed. CFD analysis and structural analysis are conducted on ANSYS Workbench. The results provide the optimum dimension ranges of the major Wind Tower components; these values would be further refined at a specific site with its certain wind characteristics.
6. Wind Resource Assessment: While regional wind resource maps for power generation provide a model derived prediction of annual mean wind speed distribution, the impact of local terrain, vegetation, and local atmospheric circulations are not accounted for given its limited spatial and temporal resolution. Hence, local studies of these features are necessary for an accurate wind resource assessment. In one study, the 10-minute period measured wind data for years 2009-2013 at three sites on North, East, and West of the Metropolitan Baltimore area, Maryland-USA have been statistically analyzed to determine the potential of wind power generation. The team has one weather station at University of Maryland and one at University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
7. Contract-Performance Engineering: Integrated Design of Contract Terms and Systems (Funding: NSF-UMD): While the problem of incentivizing design improvement has been addressed by performance-based contracts, it is not clear how much incentive is enough to motivate the designer to improve the performance to a specified level. When the contract plays a larger role in evaluating the system designer’s performance, the need for integrating contract design and engineering design is higher. However, approaching contract design as a system design problem is missing from the engineering community. From the view point of a system designer, the process of designing contractual terms that addresses performance metrics, the payment model, and performance assessment, represents a multidisciplinary design process that can be integrated into a broader engineering design process. The objective of this project is to develop a new methodology that uses the customer and contractor goals as an input to the determination the contractual and engineering design terms (as opposed to conventional engineering design parameters output that is a consequence of just requirements).
8. Marine and Hydrokinetics Based Hydrogen Production Systems (Funding:Seed Grant): Hydrogen can be produced from various primary resources by using different processes. The full benefits of hydrogen production can be obtained when it is produced from renewable energy resources. Among these emerging renewable energy resources, marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) energy systems lower variability in the energy production. Also, more than 50% of the total US population resides near water bodies. In this paper, a brief review of renewable energy-based hydrogen production systems is provided, the emission level of both conventional and renewable energy sources for producing the same amount of hydrogen are compared using GREET model, and research needs for further MHK-based hydrogen production systems are discussed. The results showed the significant emission reductions obtained from renewable-based hydrogen production systems.
9. Computational Fluid Dynamics Analysis of a Water Testing Flume (Collaborative Research with National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Colorado School of Mines): Performance of a water testing flume (closed loop water tunnel) design is being explored using CFD ANSYS Workbench.
10. Developing High-Speed Scalable Gearbox Systems for Distributed Renewable Energy Systems: Epicyclic gears are known to have advantages over parallel shaft drives in terms of weight, number of components, size, and power loss. These make epicyclic gear train a suitable choice for the WTT and similar concepts where an increase in the output shaft power in areas with low annual mean wind speed is required. The gear train configuration is designed based on the desired output speed and torque values, taking into consideration, the materials and the ease and novelty of machining and manufacturing. (Collaborative Research with Baharienergy)
In the second part of this project, the potential of a novel MHK turbine drivetrain with three main modules is explored theoretically, numerically, and experimentally. The first module is an “energy harnessing module” to harness variable hydrokinetic power. The second module is a novel “speed controlling module” that is a replacement of currently used power converters which is the focus of this work. Finally, the third module is the “power generating module” that generates grid-compatible constant-frequency electricity. (Collaborative Research with DDMotion)
11. Integrating Renewable Energy Resources in Building: The impact of Building Orientation: Building orientation impacts the building heat gain/loss and energy consumption. Several works have proposed higher structural strength building materials with appropriate thermal properties that offer desired interior comfort levels. The building orientation with respect to the sunlight identifies major sources of heat gain/loss in building geometry. Exterior loads can be identified by the impacts from surrounding environment such as shading effects of adjacent landscape features or the climate conditions at the site. The team works on developing a smart solution within current BEA software products to provide the user with the capability for identifying the optimal building orientation and design features (e.g. the window to wall ratio) based on selected materials and exterior loads.
12. Thermography-based Building Energy Auditing (Funding: Multi-Agency Supported Project): With more than 85% of buildings in the US that are +50 years old, there is a significant need to investigate the influence of aging on thermo-physical properties of building’s constructive material. Recent sensor developments and falling costs have encouraged energy auditors to increasingly using robotics with thermography to detect thermal defects and analyze building efficiency. Within this project, a comprehensive thermographic analysis toolbox will be developed to understand in-situ building envelop performance such as structural degradation on exterior layers based on the drone’s gathered data and to undertake building improvement projects.
13. Cost-Performance Trade Off Studies of Renewable Energy Systems (Funding: FRG-UNCC): Health and environmental consequences of conventional fossil fuels are drawing more interest in expanding the use of renewable energy sources. The primary challenges in supplying the required electricity from wind are the variability, uncertainty, and the cost of electric power generation. This project employs multi-year wind/load data from Pennsylvania New Jersey Maryland (PJM) Interconnection LLC to develop a cost-performance analysis toolbox of a renewable-based electricity generation systems. A main conclusion is that the cost-performance curve “hockey sticks”, high emission reduction comes at high cost. This project initially developed on spreadsheets; then, the procedure was written on a MATLAB platform. Currently, a novel networked renewable power plant site selection (NRPS) methodology is developed to obtain a fast, simple, yet accurate model.