Mass Maritime Academy to Receive Experimental Water Turbine

Mass Maritime - 2BUZZARDS BAY – The Cape Cod Canal will soon be testing a new form of renewable energy.

The Massachusetts Maritime Academy is partnering with UMass Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science and Bristol Community College on marine renewable research and workforce development through a hydrokinetic turbine.

Funds from a $1 million grant will be used to place a turbine in the canal at the academy’s campus in Buzzard’s Bay.

“There is a strong current in the Cape Cod Canal that is up to 5 and ½ knots,” said Hung “Tom” Pham, who is in the marine operations department at Massachusetts Maritime Academy. “And we want to make sure that we can take advantage of that and harness some energy from the canal.”

The academy will add hydrokinetic studies and maintenance to its curriculum.

Pham said the research will be conducted to ensure it is a safe way to collect energy.

“Just like any technology, one of the reasons we want to have it is we want to properly test it and see how it reacts to the environment,” he said.

Pham said the academy is happy to expand its portfolio when it comes to renewable energy.

“We already have wind. We have solar. We have done geothermal,” he said. “So the next goal for us is harnessing energy from the water.”

The water turbine would be able to generate a steady amount of energy that is not always reliable with solar or wind technology.

“You know that twice a day with the tide coming in and out it is steady and predictable,” Pham said.

The school is looking to secure a small turbine that would be added to the planned maritime pier which is expected to be constructed starting sometime in 2016.


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