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Capturing the same powerful forces that destroyed the Tacoma Narrows Bridge shortly after it was built in 1940, researchers at the University of Michigan are developing a new way of generating electricity with the slow moving currents found in most of the rivers and oceans of the world.

VIVACE is the first known device that could harness energy from most of the water currents around the globe because it works in flows moving slower than 2 knots (about 2 miles per hour.) Most of the Earth’s currents are slower than 3 knots. Turbines and water mills need an average of 5 or 6 knots to operate efficiently.
Michael Bernitsas

Michael Bernitsas, professor in the Department of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, stands before a prototype of his VIVACE hydrokinetic energy device.

VIVACE stands for Vortex Induced Vibrations for Aquatic Clean Energy. It doesn’t depend on waves, tides, turbines or dams. It’s a unique hydrokinetic energy system that relies on “vortex induced vibrations.”

This technology is hoped to be easier to site than traditional windmills and hydropower generators. [Thanks, Amon!]

Chris Connors

Making things is the best way to learn about our world.


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