The world is facing an imminent energy supply crisis. Our well-being is linked to the energy supply, and energy is in high demand in both the developed and the developing world. Therefore, in order to sustain our energy supply, it is necessary to advance renewable technologies. Despite this urgency, however, it is paramount to consider the larger environmental effects associated with using renewable resources. Hydropower, in the past, has been seen as a viable resource to examine given that its basics of mechanical to electrical energy conversion seem to have little effect on the environment. Discrete analysis of dams and in-stream diversion set-ups has shown otherwise though. Modifications to river flows and temperatures (from increased and decreased flows) cause adverse effects to fish and other marine life because it changes their adaptive habitat. Recent research developments have focused on kinetic energy extraction in river flows, which prove to be more sustainable as this type of extraction does not involve a large reservoir or large flow modification. The field of hydrokinetic energy extraction is immature. Little is known about their performance in the river environment, and their risk of impingement, fouling, and suspension of sediments. Basic principles of hydrokinetic energy extraction are presented along with a computational fluid dynamics model of the system. Through examining these principles it is clear that more research is required in hydrokinetic energy extraction with emphasis towards lower environmental and ecological impact.

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