Marine currents, e.g. tidal currents, ocean currents and unregulated water courses are characterized by a fairly steady or regular flow and pose a significant potential for electricity generation. An ongoing research project at Uppsala University is looking into an energy conversion system with a vertical axis turbine and a permanent magnet direct drive generator placed directly in the water flow, i.e. without using a dam. This choice of technology is intended to provide a simple and robust system with low maintenance needs and minimal environmental impact. During 2006 an experimental setup has been built. It consists of a frequency converter, a motor and a gearbox to drive the generator, the generator itself, and a resistive load to consume the generated power. The generator is two meters in diameter and is built on an elevated structure over the motor and gearbox. A stainless steel structure supports the cable wound stator. The permanent NdFeB magnets are fastened in milled grooves in the rotor. The experimental setup will be used for verification of a simulation and optimization program.

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