Modeling Waves to Keep the Sea Clean

In 2013, over 4400 million tonnes of crude oil was extracted, which caters to roughly 33% of the global need for energy. Most of this oil is extracted from offshore sites and transported to shores for further processing. During this production and transport, if an accidental release of the crude or processed oil occurs, it is called Oil Spill. With the advancement of technology, volumes of oil spilled have reduced over last few decades, however, factors of human error and natural calamity can never be completely ruled out. Continue reading

Capturing Wind Energy Safely

Capturing wind energy is full of technical challenges but it also requires a high level of safety. The turbines must operate under harsh conditions, they must be highly reliable, and they must be safe.

Vestas develops wind turbines and is the leader in its domain. It has installed 56 GW of wind energy, which amounts to 40,000 turbines. They generate enough clean energy to power 19 million European households. Continue reading

Nanotechnology – A View Into the Future

Here’s some exciting technology with a view into the future. Imagine that when your cell phone battery gets low you can charge it just by walking around. Nanotechnology has the ability to deliver that promise as described in a recent article on theENGINEER.

We’ve heard a lot about alternative energies in recent years like wind, solar, tidal, etc. This represents a new form based on harvesting mechanical energy from vibrations. The Journal of Nanomaterials features a research article that shows how ANSYS Mechanical is used to develop this new energy source by simulating the piezoelectric behavior of the nanogenerators. Continue reading

Cleaner Use of Coal in the 21st Century

Coal will remain the key fuel for electricity generation in the near future, despite its major contribution to the greenhouse effect. That was the key takeaway from the 38th International Technical Conference on Clean Coal and Fuel Systems, which concluded recently in Clearwater, Florida, U.S.A. A large focus of the event was to provide information about the cleaner use of coal now and in the future.

That message was expected, given that there has been a concentrated effort by many researchers and engineers to make energy from coal as clean as possible. It was interesting to hear one of the speakers directly couple the economic growth of a country with its use of coal.

coalThe five-day conference provided comprehensive and up-to-date information on emerging, evolving and innovative technologies, fuels and policies in the power generation industry. Information and discussions during the conference help industrialists, academicians, researchers, and technology and equipment suppliers to plan their strategies for cleaner use of coal to mitigate environmental concerns in the 21st century. Continue reading

Canadian Ingenuity Reduces Risk of Powerhouse Flooding

In Canada, we are proud to contribute to reducing the global carbon footprint by exploiting renewable energy sources that are readily available, like hydropower. However, it is important to manage this resource responsibly and cost effectively by reducing risk of failure and increasing efficiency. Using fluid dynamics, structural mechanics and thermal analysis, Kawa Engineering Ltd. delivers a broad range of services to the hydropower industry (as well as others) to allow customers to design and test many parts of these facilities before they are built. As part of celebrating Canadian Engineering Month, here’s a recent interesting project that developed a location for a powerhouse.

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3-D geometry used for flood analysis. Elevations are relative to sea level.

We used engineering simulation to help locate the powerhouse close to a waterfall but in a spot with minimal flood risk. If flooding occurred in the powerhouse, it would be extremely costly. Finding a proper location also means that there is decreased need for additional components to protect electrical equipment (generator, turbine, switch box, etc.) if flooding occurs; it determines the cut and fill required for construction; and lessens construction resources. Continue reading

Harnessing Energy Through Simulation

Maybe you’ve never thought about it, but we are living on a spaceship called Earth. It’s a big one, with more than 7 billion people on board, traveling at about 108,000 Km/h (67,500 mph) in the solar system, while spinning in such a way that, if you are on the equator line, you are moving at more than 1,700 Km/h (1,000 mph). Amazing, isn’t it?

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The ozone hole max is on Sept. 22, 2012. Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

In our travel through the universe, we are protected from outer space by our pressurized canopy: a 12 Km-thick barrier limited by an ozone layer that acts as a shield against radiation and small asteroids. It also allows us to breathe fresh air. It’s a very complex ship, with systems designed to provide the passengers (us) with anything we need to have a very pleasant journey: food, energy, water and fun. But it was designed 4.5 billion years ago, and there were no human beings at that time asking for so much energy to cool down their houses in summer, heat them up in winter, drive a big car, fly in a plane, or produce goods.

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Influencing Efficient Wind Energy Generation

Wind power can be a source of cheap, renewable energy when it is captured and used efficiently. From a business perspective, engineering simulation technology contributes to wind energy viability by influencing efficient generation, which can impact design, manufacturing, site selection, farm layout, deployment and operation.

The industry continually innovates to meet growing complexities for both onshore and offshore wind turbines. The combination of cost and weight reduction requirements, coupled with reliability and economic considerations, puts additional demand on engineering design and processes. The benefits of engineering simulation include better understanding of components and system-level performance, which deals with both components and systems and covers fluids, structure, electronic, acoustics, composites, transmission, seismic, fatigue and thermal analysis and design.

Sample results from a CFD simulation of wind turbine blade – shows flow stream lines. Courtesy IMPSA.

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