Infratructure / EnergyOntario invests in harnessing river flow for energy

Published 16 April 2008

New York City already has it: A Free Flow Turbine in the East River which will generate 10 MW when the project is completed; now Ontario wants to place a three-blade, horizontal-axis turbine on the floor of the St. Lawrence River

Canadian province of Ontario is investing C$2.2 million in the Cornwall Ontario River Energy (CORE) project in the St. Lawrence River. The goal of the two-phase CORE
Project is to develop 15 MW of power as a demonstration of the feasibility and
commercial viability of Verdant Power
river-powered Free Flow Turbine. CORE is Verdant’s second major
project; the company began installing turbines for the Roosevelt Island Tidal
Energy (RITE)
project in New York City’s East River, along the eastern shore of Roosevelt Island, in 2006. At full capacity, the
three-phase RITE project could generate up to 10 MW. The Free Flow Turbine is a
three-blade, horizontal-axis turbine that is installed on the riverbed and
operates fully under water. The turbine blades rotate at a slow rate, driving a
speed increaser which in turn drives a grid connected, three-phase induction
generator. The gearbox and generator are encased in a waterproof streamlined
nacelle mounted on a streamlined pylon.

Free Flow Turbines are fixed and generate power on the single, continuous flow
of the river throughout the day. Pylons on the tidal versions of Free Flow
Turbines are assembled with internal yaw bearings, which allow the units to
pivot with the changing tide and thus capture energy for the majority of the
day. Depending on the site, various types of devices can be used to anchor the
turbines under water. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources estimates that
there is 2,000 MW of untapped water power potential in Ontario. Verdant estimates that there is
enough potential power in the water currents of Canada’s tides, rivers and man-made
channels to generate 15,000 MW of electricity using its technology. A study
prepared for the National Research Council of Canada — “An Evaluation of
The Kinetic Energy of Canadian Rivers & Estuaries” — identified a
potential of more than 110 million MWh per year of kinetic energy in Canada, according to Verdant. Funding
for the project comes from the Ontario Innovation Demonstration Fund, which
supports bio-based, environmental and alternative energy technologies.