Singleton Placement for Site Assessment - Stage One
Placement of a single Drive unit provides cost effective site assessment. The fundamental difference between the Vortex Power Drive and all other ocean kinetic energy extraction devices is the separation of energy extraction from energy generation. During the site assessment process it is important to gauge not only the flow speed of the ocean current but also the water column depth at which that flow occurs. The Drives are designed so that individual Drives and the associated support and mooring structures can be placed on site at minimal cost to the developer. Unlike current attempts to place ocean devices which require the construction of multi-million dollar devices to gauge full operational conditions the Vortex Power Drive can be placed in the ocean and the developer will receive real-time operational data for full scale energy extraction without the extra costs associated to building the power extraction and transmission systems. This is because the Drive placed in the ocean will be the same size with the same operational characteristics as the full scale Array since each full scale Array is made up of multiple versions of the same Drive used for site assessment. Once the developer, equity, insurance and debt providers are comfortable with the energy extraction parameters of the site then stage two placement can begin.
Single Array Placement - Stage Two
Following site assessment and confirming energy expectations development will proceed to stage two, placement of a single Drive Array. The Drive Array will consist of the final configuration of Drives for the depth of usable water column. The Array can be built using conventional metal fabrication shops and delivered to the site on barges or heavy lift vessels. Placement on site through the use of existing placement crane vessels and attachment to mooring systems is made easier since the nature of the Drives operation is in relatively slow moving unidirectional currents.
The nature of vortex formation and shedding is such that it will begin upon the Drives being submerged. Separating the energy generation units allows for simple modification to the units without stopping the Drives operation. Each Drive will continue to operate 24/7 365 regardless of any outside influence. Safely below the surface of the ocean the Drives are protected from surface weather events like storms, extracting energy. Generation facilities can be designed a number of ways. Below is one configuration that uses hydraulic actuators to transmit the extracted energy to generation units. This design shows how controlling the flow of pressurized fluid to the generator through the use of bypass mechanisms allows the Array to scale back production without needing to control the Drives. Allowing the Drives to act independent of outside power requirements keeps all control apparatuses out of the water thereby reducing development and operational costs.
The actuator pictured above can be replaced with a direct mechanical connection between the center drive shaft and the energy generation units. Replacing the actuator with an off-set cam and using high strength stainless steel rope to transfer the energy to the surface generation unit removes the only mechanical unit from the water leaving just three moving parts, the Drive and the two stainless steal ropes. The Drive is connected top and bottom to the superstructure with marine grade bearings rated for > 20 years. The use of stainless ropes also allows the operators to monitor individual Drives for performance and maintenance requirements.
Multiple Array Placement - Stage Three
Following site assessment and single Array placement work can begin on installing the final quantity of Arrays. Working in a factory assembly line fashion finished Arrays can be built from multiple suppliers and delivered to site for continuous placement thereby minimizing the costs associated to placements.