What is VIVACE?
VIVACE stands for Vortex Induced Vibration Aquatic Clean Energy, and is a technology used to extract energy from flowing water currents.
Vortex Induced Vibrations (VIV) are a physical phenomenon resulting from vortices forming and shedding on the downstream side of a bluff body (e.g a bridge support) in a current. The shredding of the vortices alternates from side to side creating vibrations. For decades, scientists and engineers have worked to try to prevent VIV damaging offshore structures such as oil platforms and bridges
In 2005, Professor Michael Bernistas of the University of Michigan turned this preventive research on its head, trying to maximise VIV and developing a system for harnessing its power. In doing so, he produced a converter unlike any existing technology currently in use, instead of turbines or propellers; the VIVACE converter uses cylinders that move up and down in the water due to the VIV. As these cylinders move vertically in their runners, they move magnets along a coil producing DC current.
VIVACE is the first system that can harness water currents under 2knots, where as conventional turbines and water mills require an average water speed of 5-6knots to operate efficiently. The majority of the earth’s currents travel under 3knots, so this technology is suitable to be situated worldwide and it has speculated that if we could harness just 0.1% of the energy in the ocean, it would support the energy needs of 15 billion people.
Vortex Hydro Energy has exclusive license to commercialise the hydrokinetic power generating device, and is currently running tests in the Detroit River of various types of system.