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A pioneering hydroelectric generator for cruising under sail

Openarc Marine is focused on developing smart marine energy systems. They develop technologies which reduce and eliminate dependence on diesel and petrol fuelled electric generators, control energy collection and consumption, and harvest free energy from the sea.

Openarc Marine set out to overcome a number of key drawbacks with existing technologies. Conventional systems couple the turbine directly to the generator, making them drag sensitive and limited in range and output. The Openarc system has an intelligent coupling system able to control drag and open up a wider range of operation with higher energy yields.

The New Approach

Openarc Marine Director, Jim Shields, explains: “Our innovative system introduces a completely novel approach to hydro generation, where power transfer between the turbine and the electrical generator is controlled to meet load and drag requirements. The control is fully automated, but the user can set the system to perform along a scale ranging from drag optimised trickle charging, to charge optimised at higher drag.

“The new system has a much wider operating range than conventional systems. Most importantly, it provides useful power output at hull speeds well below conventional hydrogeneration systems. The low speed performance, absolute capacity at high speed, and the user control of drag/charge characteristics, make our product unique in the marketplace, creating a significant step forward for our industry.”

Development Support from Marine-i

Openarc Marine engaged with Marine-i to get support in developing an operational prototype of the new system, including the build of a full size turbine. Marine-i worked with Openarc Marine to develop a programme of activity covering design review, systems design and verification, and prototype testing and analysis.

Prof Lars Johanning, Programme Director for Marine-i, says: “This is a really exciting innovation from Openarc Marine which will have global applications in the leisure sailing industry. This project has the potential to make Openarc Marine a world leader with its pioneering approach to hydroelectric generation.”

Openarc Marine Director, Mark Basham, adds: “Support from Marine-i has given us the opportunity to bring this new technology to market at a much faster rate than would otherwise be possible.”

Openarc Marine’s new product is expected to be launched in 2023.

[Image: Openarc Marine]