Kinetic Hydropower - Practical Energy from Moving Water

Dean Corren, Director of Marine Current Technology, Verdant Power, Inc.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Spanos Auditorium

This seminar is part of the Jones Seminars on Science, Technology, and Society series

The desire to capture the readily apparent energy from naturally flowing water is probably as ancient as that to capture the wind, but despite the similar underlying physics, its capture for useful purposes has trailed wind by centuries due to several factors. The siting is more peculiar than wind, and the technology required is more modern and specialized. Furthermore, until recently, the use of dams and impoundments for potential hydropower was more cost effective and could provide far more readily usable power. With the increasing need for clean, renewable energy, the ability to move electrical power and energy in other forms, and the decreasing ability to dam rivers, the power from flowing rivers, tidal, and even the vast energy in ocean currents is coming within reach. While early work began in the late 1970s and early 1980s, serious attempts to commercialize kinetic hydropower gained speed in the late 1990s. Since 2000, Verdant Power has become the leading developer in North America, with its Kinetic Hydropower System (KHPS), having developed the world's first multi-turbine grid-connected array. Through the Verdant experience, the presentation will survey the issues involved in designing, building, siting, deploying, testing and operating kinetic hydropower systems, along with the novel environmental monitoring required by the industry's progress towards commercial viability.

About the Speaker

Dean Corren coordinates technical resources to design, fabricate, test and deploy kinetic hydro energy conversion devices and systems. He also coordinates development of intellectual property, and interfaces with the company's work in resource analysis and regulatory affairs. He holds a masters degree from New York University in Energy Science, and a bachelor's in philosophy from Middlebury College. He was a research scientist in the NYU Department of Applied Science, where he was responsible for all areas of energy research from theory through model tests and full scale prototypes for a wide range of emerging energy technologies including wind, hydrogen, solar, biomass, and kinetic hydropower. He patented the "Turbine for Kinetic Hydro Energy Conversion" in 1984. Mr. Corren has also served four terms as a Vermont state representative, as Outreach Director for U.S. Congressman (now Senator) Bernard Sanders (I-VT) and has chaired the Burlington (VT) Electric Commission.