Basking Shark inspires improved hydropower turbine

The Strait Power turbine has a double converging nozzle, an opening within an opening. Water enters through both openings, and water entering through the second opening creates a pressure differential that draws water through to produce more energy. The technology is patent-pending, and founder Anthony Reale has filed for 5 potential applications ranging from portable devices, to home installation, to high powered commercial generator applications. The saga of this project chronicles a biomimetic project that was realized through generous donations totalling $95,000 from a wide variety of benefactors. This Detroit-based innovation seeks to provide new power to the city's long history with engines.

Key Differentiators

The current turbine generator has shown in tests to be 40% more efficient than hydroelectric turbines currently in use. 200 hours of testing have shown that this turbine could herald a new era in hydroelectric design.

Biomimicry Story

The basking shark is the second largest shark in the ocean, and is considered to be a harmless filter feeder. It swims, mouth agape, filtering out zooplankton, fish, and invertebrates. Water exits the sharks mouth through an extended gill slit, that nearly encircles the fish's head. With a mouth up to 1.2 m (3.9 ft) in diameter, the shark's motion creates a pressure differential between the shark's upper dorsal and ventral surfaces. That pressure differential is substantial enough that the basking shark is the only passive filter feeding shark. The water is passively pushed through its pharynx by this pressure differential. It is not just energy flowing through the turbine, but around it, as well.

Challenges Solved

Hydroelectric turbine conversion efficiency.