Advanced Materials and Devices for Hydropower and Ocean Energy

  • Colin Tong


Water’s natural flowing movements, such as in rivers and reservoirs, can be used in the production of electricity. Furthermore, both the tidal range (the periodic rise and fall of the sea level) and the energy contained in flow and waves can be used in the ocean energy system. Both types of energy conversion are classed as renewable energies. While the typical use of hydropower has been widespread for hundreds of years, using the ocean for energy is in its infancy. Large hydropower turbine-generator technologies are highly optimized, robust, and cost-effective designs, with peak energy conversion efficiencies of more than 93%. However, advancements for small-scale turbine-generators must reduce technology cost and enable more compact support structures and smaller physical and environmental footprints to achieve economic feasibility. The environmental performance of turbine designs continues to improve, in the form of blade shape enhancements to reduce injury to fish and aeration into turbine flow passages to improve the water quality of releases. Therefore, research and development have been focused on advanced materials and manufacturing for powertrain components, innovative hydrodynamic and mechanical concepts to reduce integrated turbine-generator size (diameter and length) and increase speed, embedded condition monitoring sensors, and powertrain design innovations that afford flexibility in selection of design objectives such as initial cost minimization, efficiency over a range of head and flow rates, and durability or ease of replacement. Ocean energy is one of the most promising resources that can be broadly split into tides, waves, tidal or marine currents, temperature gradients, and Salinity gradients. It has potential of the same order as that of the present capacity of electricity generation worldwide. The majority of ocean energy converters are fabricated from metals like steel and composite materials. Steel offers good fatigue and stress limits, while composites possess some cost and weight saving advantages over steel, but the fatigue and stress limits are not yet well understood in comparison to steel. Other wave devices are being designed to use rubber or other flexible materials as the main structural component. Composites provide many advantages for manufacturing underwater structures such as tidal turbine blades, and wave devices, which generally offer strength, fatigue-resistance, corrosion resistance, buoyancy, and cost-effectiveness. New materials are also explored to meet the needs of a wide variety of designs, many engineering and materials options, and the unpredictable environment of subsea and new ocean energy technologies. Next-generation component would drive the costs down for multiple energy conversion system solutions, including advanced controls to tune devices to extract the maximum energy from each sea state, compact high-torque, low-speed generator technologies, and corrosion- and biofouling-resistant materials and coatings. This chapter will give a brief review about state of the art of advanced materials and devices including various components for hydropower and ocean energy.


  1. Adhikary, P., Roy, P., Mazumdar, A.: Selection of hydro-turbine blade material: application of fuzzy logic (MCDA). Int. J. Eng. Res. Appl. 3(1), 426–430 (2013)Google Scholar
  2. BDS: About dams. (2010). The British Dams Society Accessed 8 Aug 2017
  3. Blight, G.E.: Construction of Tailings Dams. Case studies on Tailings Management, pp. 9–10. International Council on Metals and the Environment, Paris (1998). isbn:1-895720-29-XGoogle Scholar
  4. Boisseau, A., Davies, P., Thiebaud, F.: Sea water ageing of composites for ocean energy conversion systems: influence of glass fiber type on static behavior. Appl. Compos. Mater. 19(3–4), 459–473 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Borthwick, A.G.L.: Marine renewable energy seascape. Engineering. 2, 69–78 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Burman, K., Walker, A.: Ocean Energy Technology Overview, Prepared for the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Federal Energy Management Program. DOE/GO-102009-2823. (2009). Accessed 22 Aug 2017
  7. Das, E.M.: Advances in Rockfill Structures, p. 341. Kluwer Academic, Dordrecht (1991)Google Scholar
  8. DOE: Hydropower technology basics. (2013). Accessed 1 Aug 2017
  9. Drew, B., Plummer, A.R., Sahinkaya, M.N.: A review of wave energy converter technology. Proc. Inst. Mech. Eng. A. 223(8), 887–902 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Forehand, D.I.M., Kiprakis, A.E., Nambiar, A.J., Wallace, A.R.: A fully coupled wave-to-wire model of an array of wave energy converters. IEEE. Trans. Sustain. Energy. 7(1), 118–128 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gummer, J.: Combating silt erosion in hydraulic turbines. Hydro Rev. 17(1), (2009). Accessed 9 Aug 2017
  12. Gunn, K., Stock-Williams, C.: Quantifying the global wave power resource. Renew. Energy. 44, 296–304 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Henkel, M.: 21st Century Homestead: Sustainable Agriculture II: Farming and Natural Resources. (2015). isbn:9781312939684
  14. Høeg, K.: Asphaltic Concrete Cores For Embankment Dams, 1993 Norwegian Geotechnical Institute, Publication No 201. (1997)Google Scholar
  15. Huckerby, J.A., Jeffrey, H., Moran, B.: An international vision for ocean energy. ocean energy systems implementing agreement. (2011). Accessed Aug 2017
  16. IEA-ETSAP and IRENA. Hydropower Technology brief. (2015). Accessed 1 Aug 2017
  17. Ingram, D., Smith, G., Bittencourt-Ferreira, C., Smith, H.: Protocols for the equitable assessment of marine energy, vol. 213380, 1st edn. The Institute for Energy Systems, School of Engineering, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh (2011)Google Scholar
  18. James, P., Chanson, H.: Historical development of arch dams—from Roman arch dams to modern concrete designs. Aust. Civil Eng. Trans. CE43, 39–56 (2002)Google Scholar
  19. Lewis, M.J., Neill, S.P., Hashemi, M.R., Reza, M.: Realistic wave conditions and their influence on quantifying the tidal stream energy resource. Appl. Energy. 136, 495–508 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Mofor, L., Goldsmith, J., Jones, F.: Ocean energy-technology readiness, patents, deployment status and outlook. (2014). Accessed 31 July 2017
  21. Neill, S.P., Jordan, J.R., Couch, S.J.: Impact of tidal energy converter (TEC) arrays on the dynamics of headland sand banks. Renewable Energy 37(1), 87–397 (2012)Google Scholar
  22. Oerlikon Metco: SF-0023.1—Robust coating solutions for hydropower turbines extend operating life and maintain efficiency. (2014). Accessed 10 Aug 2017
  23. Onder, H., Yilmaz, M.: Underground dams—a tool of sustainable development and management of ground resources. Eur Water. 11(12), 35–45 (2005)Google Scholar
  24. Peters, N.: Dike design and construction guide—best management practices for British Columbia. (2003). Accessed 8 Aug 2017
  25. Salter, S.H., Taylor, J.R.M.: Vertical-axis tidal-current generators and the Pentland Firth. Proc. Inst. Mech. Eng. A. 221(2), 181–199 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. SI-Ocean: Ocean Energy: State of the Art. (2016). Accessed 31 July 2017
  27. Spicher, T.: Choosing the right material for turbine runners. Hydro Rev. 32(6), (2013). Accessed 9 Aug 2017
  28. WCD: Dams and Development: A New Framework for Decision-Making: The Report of the World Commission on Dams. Earthscan, London (2000). isbn:1-85383-798-9Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Colin Tong
    • 1
  1. 1.ChicagoUSA

Personalised recommendations