Research Papers: Energy Systems Analysis

Dynamic Model of a Vortex-Induced Energy Converter

[+] Author and Article Information
Giampaolo Manfrida

Fellow ASME
Dipartimento di Ingegneria Industriale,
Università degli Studi di Firenze,
Viale G.B. Morgagni 40,
Firenze I50134, Italy
e-mail: giampaolo.manfrida@unifi.it

Mirko Rinchi

Dipartimento di Ingegneria Industriale,
Università degli Studi di Firenze,
Viale G.B. Morgagni 40,
Firenze I50134, Italy
e-mail: mirko.rinchi@unifi.it

Guido Soldi

Dipartimento di Ingegneria Industriale,
Università degli Studi di Firenze,
Viale G.B. Morgagni 40,
Firenze I50134, Italy
e-mail: guido.soldi@stud.unifi.it

Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESOURCES TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received October 16, 2015; final manuscript received April 21, 2016; published online June 14, 2016. Assoc. Editor: Na Zhang.

J. Energy Resour. Technol 138(6), 062002 (Jun 14, 2016) (7 pages) Paper No: JERT-15-1388; doi: 10.1115/1.4033587 History: Received October 16, 2015; Revised April 21, 2016

Vortex-induced energy converters (VIECs) are attracting the attention of researchers looking for energy-harvesting systems in the marine environment. These energy converters, while probably less efficient than many other specialized devices, have very few moving parts and are particularly suitable for operation in harsh environments, such as those encountered in the ocean and in offshore platforms. The principle of operation of VIECs is tapping the transverse vibration of a blunt slender body immersed in a stream, induced by unsteady flow separation (Von Karman vortex street). The simplest device is an array of cylinders: under specific conditions and with careful design, it is possible to work close to resonance and thereby to obtain large amplitudes of oscillation, which are converted into electricity by suitable devices (linear electrical generators or piezoelectric cells). The system was developed experimentally at University of Michigan, with several patents pending and scientific material published on preliminary tests. Numerical simulations of system dynamics allow to simulate more realistic operating conditions and to perform the mechanical optimization of the system in relation to a specific sea location. A model of the system was thus developed, resulting in a nonlinear dynamic mathematical formulation; this last is solved in the time domain using matlab/simulink programming. The sensitivity of the efficiency to the main design variables is investigated. The results demonstrate that the efficiency and power density are not attractive for the typical Mediterranean Sea conditions; however, as energy can be harvested over large surfaces, the system appears to deserve attention.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME
Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.


Bearman, P. W. , 1984, “ Vortex Shedding from Oscillating Bluff Bodies,” Annu. Rev. Fluid Mech., 16(1), pp. 195–222. [CrossRef]
Bernitsas, M. M. , and Raghavan, K. , 2005, “ Fluid Motion Energy Converter,” U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Serial No. 11/272,504.
Bernitsas, M. M. , Ben-Simon, Y. , Raghavan, K. , and Garcia, E. M. H. , 2009, “ The VIVACE Converter: Model Tests at High Damping and Reynolds Number Around 105,” ASME J. Offshore Mech. Arct. Eng., 131(1), p. 011102. [CrossRef]
Bernitsas, M. M. , Raghavan, K. , Ben-Simon, Y. K. , and Garcia, E. M. H. , 2008, “ VIVACE (Vortex Induced Vibration Aquatic Clean Energy): A New Concept in Generation of Clean and Renewable Energy From Fluid Flow,” ASME J. Offshore Mech. Arct. Eng., 130(4), p. 041101. [CrossRef]
White, F. M. , 1991, Viscous Fluid Flow, Mc Graw-Hill, New York.
Zdravkovich, M. M. , 1997, Flow Around Circular Cylinders (Fundamentals), Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.
Williamson, C. H. K. , and Govardhan, R. , 2004, “ Vortex Induced Vibrations,” Annu. Rev. Fluid Mech., 36(1), pp. 413–455. [CrossRef]
Govardhan, R. , and Williamson, C. H. K. , 2000, “ Modes of Vortex Formation and Frequency Response of a Freely Vibrating Cylinder,” J. Fluid Mech., 420, pp. 85–130. [CrossRef]
Norberg, C. , 2003, “ Fluctuating Lift on a Circular Cylinder: Review and New Measurements,” J. Fluids Struct., 17(1), pp. 57–96. [CrossRef]
Khalak, A. , and Williamson, C. H. K. , 1997, “ Fluid Forces and Dynamics of a Hydroelastic Structure With Very Low Mass and Damping,” J. Fluids Struct., 11(8), pp. 973–982. [CrossRef]
Istituto Idrografico della Marina, I.I. 3068, 1982, Atlante Delle Correnti Superficiali dei Mari Italiani, Genova, Italy.
Lee, J. H. , and Bernitsas, M. M. , 2011, “ High-Damping, High-Reynolds VIV Tests for Energy Harnessing Using the VIVACE Converter,” Ocean Eng., 38(16), pp. 1697–1712. [CrossRef]
Coiro, D. P. , Lioniello, F. , and Troise, G. , 2013, “ Misura del profilo di corrente marina nello Stretto di Messina ai fini della stima della produzione di energia,” Agenzia nazionale per le nuove tecnologie, l'energia e lo sviluppo economico sostenibile (ENEA), Report No. RdS/2013/087.
MOSE, 2015, “ Per la difesa di Venezia e della Laguna dalle acque alte,” Consorzio Venezia Nuova, Venice, Italy, https://www.mosevenezia.eu/
HydroGen, 2015, “ Modular Tidal Energy Systems Adapted to Your Needs,” HydroGen Power Industries, Beaumaris, VIC, Australia, accessed Mar. 12, 2016, http://www.h2oceanpower.com/
Derakhshandeh, J. F. , Arjomandi, M. , Cazzolato, B. S. , and Dally, B. , 2015, “ Harnessing Hydro-Kinetic Energy From Wake-Induced Vibration Using Virtual Mass Spring Damper System,” Ocean Eng., 108, pp. 115–128. [CrossRef]


Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Simple schematic for vortex-induced converter dynamics

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Schematic of the dynamic Simulink model

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Simulation results: cylinder velocity and displacement (input data from Table 1)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Simulation results: energy conversion efficiency ηfS

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Efficiency plot for U = 0.4 m/s

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Efficiency plot for U = 0.525 m/s (Strait of Messina)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

Device arrangement for a single assembly




Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related Journal Articles
Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In