Water horse on the river

Water Horse

This project was intended primarily to advance the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of the Water Horse hydrokinetic power harvester from 5 to 7. The Water Horse is a vertical hydrokinetic harvesting oscillator designed by Renergé, Inc. to harvest energy from turbulent water conditions, previously deemed as unrecoverable.

The Water Horse is designed around low-cost, commercially-off-the-shelf components to maintain a low levelized cost of energy (LCOE). The single central vertical piston allows the design of the Water Horse to be easily adaptable to resist debris impacts.

ACEP designed and built two iterations of the Water Horse oscillator system and developed a power electronics package, all tested at the Tanana River Test Site (TRTS) in Nenana, Alaska.

The first system was a single oscillator. The goal was to validate performance predictions, identify design improvements, and provide data to feed into the design of the power electronics system.

The second prototype was a dual oscillator system, building on lessons learned from the first prototype.

Water horse

The first Water Horse oscillator system prototype was successfully tested over 5 days at TRTS in July 2020. 

Field testing data showed lower performance than predicted. The data identified power take-off (PTO) mechanical losses and energy transfer into the heaving of the research barge as the main sources of efficiency reductions.

The second prototype was developed to improve PTO efficiency, test the power electronics design, and reduce energy transfer into the research barge. The dual oscillator system was tested at TRTS for 10 days in July 2021.

This project, funded by DOE Water Power Technologies Office, began in June 2019 and concluded in January 2022.

Water Horse material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) under the Water Power Technologies Office Award Number DE-EE0008389.

This report was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the United States Government. Neither the U.S. Government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the U.S. Government or any agency thereof. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the U.S. Government or any agency thereof.