Turbine Design and Reliability:

Drop-in Turbine Generator System

Led by William Baxley, MS, PE
Affiliated Home Campus: Harbor Branch
Affiliated Department: Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center


High operations and maintenance costs for water current turbines reduce their overall cost effectiveness. One of the biggest drivers of maintenance cost is unscheduled maintenance due to unexpected failures. Continuous monitoring of water current turbine health using automated failure detection algorithms can improve turbine reliability and reduce maintenance costs by detecting failures before they reach a catastrophic stage and by eliminating unnecessary scheduled maintenance.

Arduino based sensory circuits were developed to detect voltage, rotor speed of multiple generators, and depth sensors for an entire generator cluster to monitor early warning of failures and performance issues. Data is then sent to shore via fiberoptic cables and translated into a Graphical User Interface (GUI) design, a much more aesthetically pleasing and easier to read display meter.

This design is a cost-effective way to monitor water current turbines for early warning of failures and performance issues. Once a malfunction or failure is determined by sensory circuits then the generator can then be replaced underwater so that the rest of the generator cluster can continue to produce power.

Click here to watch the student presentation.

HBOI ocean fish